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Riveting films that amplify, scrutinise, argue and surprise.
Debate presents vital cinematic dispatches about the pressing concerns of our day. From a gripping character study about assisted dying to a teen drama about young asylum seekers, we present titles that probe the realities behind the headlines. Our selection also delves into history, with archive screenings, and The Last of the Unjust, Claude Lanzmann’s masterly Holocaust documentary. Underpinning Debate is a belief that films can change the way we see the world. How else to explain the Iranian authorities’ 20-year filmmaking ban for Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulof? Which is why it’s such an honour to screen their defiant responses: Closed Curtain and Manuscripts Don’t Burn.
Dakota Fanning and Jesse Eisenberg shine in a thriller that combines cinematic lyricism with an astute exploration of radical environmentalism.
More fiction than a docudrama, Riri Riza’s deeply humane film examines the frustrated lives of refugees who fled independent East Timor for Indonesia.
Jafar Panahi’s dazzling chamber-piece drama about a writer struggling to complete his screenplay is a stirring exploration of the creative process.
The many lives of Gore Vidal are admiringly depicted in this entertaining documentary.
The award-winning story of twin boys who experience World War II in a Hungarian border village and must adjust to a cruel and violent world.
A beggar pays dearly for his theft of a pearl necklace in this Weimar-era silent melodrama of poverty, greed and prostitution.
Topical drama about a woman with a false life that conceals her real, secret work in assisted euthanasia.
A sensitive, shocking exploration of US war crimes in Afghanistan, focusing on the whistleblower who brought murder to light.
Claude Lanzmann’s portrait of the man who ran the Jewish Council at Theresienstadt concentration camp revisits material shot for his monumental Shoah.
A moving, poignant contribution to debates on UK immigration, born of a youth film academy project and soundtracked by Mercury Award-winning Alt-J.
The late, great Lino Brocka’s portrayal of a young labourer’s desperate search for his abducted girlfriend in the lower depths of Manila.
This brave, angry film about the attempt by the Iranian authorities to cover-up a past state crime grips with fierce urgency.
Fascinating documentary portrait of John Milius, the maverick writer-director and the unruly guiding spirit of the Movie Brat generation.
Scenes from the life of the Polish Roma poet Bronisława Wajs, known as Papusza, evoke a lost way of life through striking black and white imagery.
A moving debut feature following five characters, each facing a time of uncertainty over a blisteringly hot summer on the outskirts of Barcelona.
A journalist discovers dark secrets in the life of an apparently happy couple in Tatsushi Omori’s tale of female empowerment and male guilt.
A sprawling, masterful depiction of a day in the life of Algiers by arguably Algeria’s greatest living filmmaker, Merzak Allouache.
Kaveh Bakhtiari’s documentary offers a moving, close-quarter portrait of illegal Iranian immigrants stranded and struggling to survive in Athens.
Peter Brook’s provocative anti-Vietnam War 1960s protest piece, combining the talents of the Royal Shakespeare Company with his own cinematic flair.
Two bickering teenagers are deserted by their parents at the roadside in this telling metaphorical road move by Brazilian director Marcelo Lordello.
The third part of Andrzej Wajda’s trilogy telling the story of post-war Poland follows the rise of the Solidarity union and its leader, Lech Wałęsa.
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