In-your-face, up-front and arresting: films that take you out of your comfort zone.
Here you’ll find cinema’s troublemakers and boundary pushers, with films for those who take their movies strong, no sugar. We explore extremes of human experience with World of Kanako, Blind and Nagima; filmmakers challenge the cinematic form and our ways of watching in From What Is Before and Hard to Be a God; while families show their toxic ways in Thou Wast Mild & Lovely, The Lamb and The Strange Familiar. Dare is bold, risk-taking cinema, epitomised by Jean Luc Godard’s Goodbye to Language, presented here in awe-inspiring scale at BFI IMAX.
Tricia Tuttle and Kate Taylor
Canadian wunderkind Xavier Dolan impresses again with his latest award-winning exercise in stylistic and imaginative melodrama.
In 1930s Ethiopia, a young woman escapes Mussolini’s army and is almost attacked by bandits, were it not for the arrival of an otherworldly presence whom she befriends.
A woman flees her old life against the turbulent backdrop of Greece’s economic crisis.
A woman’s blindness only serves to sharpen her capacity for imagination and fantasy in the directorial debut from the writer of Oslo, August 31st.
Alina Rudnitskaya’s compelling documentary, shot in black and white, presents a vivid portrait of Russian rural life by following the work of a roving blood transfusion service.
Duane Hopkins’s follow up to Better Things is a poetic drama about a young man on the edge.
The film that Martin Scorsese compared to ‘opening a door and walking into another dimension, where time has stopped and beauty has been unleashed’.
An old peasant and his granddaughter work to raise a crop on a river island in this striking, almost dialogue-free drama from Georgia.
Gripping psychological thriller about a family plunged into crisis as their children are implicated in a murder.
A double bill of mid-length puzzles of love, flirtation and broken romance from rising stars Matías Piñeiro and Ignatiy Visnevetsky.
Taiwenese director Hsiang Chienn drama features a triumphant performance from Shiang-chyi Chen as a woman struggling with middle age.
Lav Diaz’s masterly, prize-winning account of a small village in the Philippines in the years before martial law.
An expertly written and tautly structured story about an Israeli woman’s five-year fight to obtain a divorce in the Rabbinical Courts.
Jean-Luc Godard goes 3D– his way – in a typically complex and mischievous disquisition on words, images, politics and the world as seen by a dog named Roxy.
Aleksei German’s final feature is an epic set on planet Arkanar – a world in which the Renaissance never happened, all filmed in sumptuous, glorious B&W.
A series of unexplained incidents within a gated Argentine community lie at the heart of Benjamín Naishtat’s exploration of a society on the brink of collapse.
A Brixton-set drama about 15-year-old girl whose desperate need for acceptance leads her to take part in a tragic act of violence.
A haunting exploration of creativity about an Israeli kindergarten teacher drawn to a young boy with a gift for poetry.
Kutluğ Ataman’s funny, touching fable about an impoverished Turkish family’s quest for a lamb to serve at a traditional banquet.
French director Christophe Honoré brings Ovid’s Metamorphoses to life in a boldly inventive modern-day version.
Unsparing and intensely moving portrait of the friendship between two young Kazakh women, against the backdrop of desperate poverty.
Novelist Michel Houellbecq plays a man determined to kill himself in this jet-black comedy from France.
A startling, clear-eyed portrait of an ageing bar hostess whose decision to marry a long-term admirer, and relinquish her party girl ways, leaves her questioning her identity.
Abel Ferrara explores the last day in the life of Pier Paolo Pasolini (played by Willem Dafoe).
This witty, contemplative fable of a couple in search of inspiration among the Baroque architecture of Italy is the latest film from Eugène Green.
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Games of Thrones) gives a career-best performance as a troubled cop in Susanne Bier’s story of blinkered obsession.
A quasi-ghost story about a young urban Chinese couple returning to their dusty rural roots interrogates one child policy and authoritarianism.
A deftly told social drama about a Singhalese couple and their families, who struggle to come to terms with the emotional wreckage caused by an extra-marital affair.
Butter on the Latch director Josephine Decker wows with her second feature – an rural erotic horror romance.
This thrilling Dehli-set drama sees a youngster struggle to escape the influence of his criminal older brother.
A deliciously droll comedy from Martín Rejtman, a key figures of the New Argentine Cinema, charting the aftermath of an unexplained shooting on a middle-class Buenos Aires family.
Celebrated indie filmmaker Gregg Araki returns with a lyrical and impressionistic adaptation of Laura Kasischke’s novel.
A wayward ex-detective investigates his daughter’s disappearance in this gleefully nasty thriller.
Short films programme
A feeling or a fleeting moment is how we experience life, where a tiny event can seem all important. The filmmakers here are looking for those moments and by focussing on such microscopic elements of human nature, they can create big stories full of emotion.