Robinson in Space (1997)

“Like its predecessor this is an offbeat, verbose, witty mix of documentary, fiction and essay: are we really a poor, terribly provincial nation plagued by industrial decline, or are our hardships and low morale the outcome of choices made by self-serving politicians?” ‘Robinson in Space’, written and directed by Patrick Keiller in 1997, is second…

Of Gods and Men (2010)

“Should it ever befall me, and it could happen today, to be a victim of the terrorism swallowing up all foreigners here, I would like my community, my church, my family, to remember that my life was given to God and to this country. That the Unique Master of all life was no stranger to…

Diva (1981)

“Some get high on airplane glue… detergents… fancy gimmicks. My satori is this: Zen in the art of buttering bread!” ‘Diva’, directed by Jean-Jacques Beineix in 1981, is a French thriller and an early entry to the ‘cinéma du look’ movement. Jules, a postman played by Frédéric Andréi, is obsessed by the American opera singer…

Uzak (2002)

“’Her şey senden çok uzak göründüğünde umutsuzluğa düşme, kendine dön, çünkü sen kendine en yakın şeysin! Kendinle enerji biriktir! Sonra uzak şeylerin bile ötesine erişmek için kendini güçlü hissedeceksin!’” ‘Uzak’, directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan in 2002, is a Turkish film about an unemployed man, Yusuf, played by Mehmet Emin Toprak, who moves in with…

Paradise Now (2005)

“I was born in a refugee camp. I was allowed to leave the west Bank only once. I was 6 at the time and needed surgery. Life here is like life imprisonment. The crimes of the occupation are countless. The worst crime of all is to exploit the people’s weaknesses and turn them into collaborators….

By Our Selves (2015)

“I found the poems in the fields, And only wrote them down.” ‘By Our Selves’, directed by Andrew Kotting in 2015, is a British experimental docudrama about the journey of poet John Clare from Epping Forest to Northamptonshire. The film stars Toby Jones as the poet, silently wandering through woodland, whilst Freddie Jones, his father,…

Culloden (1964)

 “They’ve created a desert and have called it “peace”.” ‘Culloden’, directed by Peter Watkins in 1964, is a British docudrama focusing on the aftermath of the Scottish Jacobite rising of 1745. The film follows the events of the battle that took place in 1746 in which the British army, supported by antagonistic Scottish clans, defeated…

Modern Times (1936)

“Good morning, my friends. This record comes to you through the Sales Talk Transcription Company, Incorporated: your speaker, the Mechanical Salesman. May I take the pleasure of introducing Mr. J. Widdecombe Billows, the inventor of the Billows Feeding Machine, a practical device which automatically feeds your men while at work? Don’t stop for lunch: be…

Au revoir les enfants (1987)

“Goodbye, children. I’ll see you soon.” ‘Au revoir les enfants’, directed by Louis Malle in 1987, is a French drama set during the Nazi occupation. Julien, played by Gaspard Manesse, is a pupil at a Carmelite boarding school who puts on a front of being tough but throughout the film seems vulnerable, perplexed by the…

Volver (2006)

“Don’t say that, Raimunda, or I’ll start crying. And ghosts don’t cry.” ‘Volver’, directed by Pedro Almodóvar in 2006, is a Spanish drama film set in Madrid and in the countryside around the city. Penélope Cruz plays Raimunda who, with her daughter Paula and sister Soledad, become embroiled in a story of apparent ghosts, faked…

The Class (2008)

“I didn’t asked you what you liked in the class, I want to know what did you learned from it.” ‘The Class’, directed by Laurent Cantet in 2008, is a French drama set entirely within a modern middle school in a district of Paris famous for its immigrant communities. Based on a book by teacher…

Rosetta (1999)

“Your name is Rosetta. My name is Rosetta. You found a job. I found a job. You’ve got a friend. I’ve got a friend. You have a normal life. I have a normal life. You won’t fall in a rut. I won’t fall in a rut. Good night. Good night.” ‘Rosetta’, directed by the Dardenne…