Riveting films that amplify, scrutinise, argue and surprise.
Debate presents films that rush headfirst and unafraid into some of the stormiest issues of the day. From Jon Stewart’s searing true-life exploration of press freedom Rosewater to a look at Israeli-Palestinian relations in Shira Geffen’s Self Made to a haunting tale of environmental disaster in Brazil in Gabriel Mascaro’s August Winds, our selection grapples with turbulent ethical and political concerns, in ways that entertain and challenge. We revisit the past too: in our archive selection we’re proud to show Steve James’ magisterial 1994 portrait of race in the US, Hoop Dreams. On friendly terms with controversy, the films in Debate are an invitation to discuss, to argue and to think about the unquiet world outside the movie theatre.
Jon Stewart brilliantly tells the story of Maziar Bahari, the journalist who was detained for 188 days in Iran.
A sensual teen romance unfurls in a remote Brazilian village threatened by global warming in this haunting feature debut.
A young mother is forced to take desperate measures when her son becomes seriously ill in this classic of Turkish cinema from 1973.
Kristen Stewart stars as a guard in Gauntanamo Bay who strikes an uncomfortable bond with one of her prisoners.
An engrossing examination of modern-day media and its influence on the outcome of one of the most infamous murder cases in late 20th century USA.
A folk singer is charged on dubious grounds in this provocative exploration of the Indian legal system.
A middle-aged man builds a magnificent hideaway in the heart of a Catalan forest in this fascinating documentary.
Made on the eve of WWI, this Belgian classic sees two friends on opposing sides of a European conflict – now lovingly restored.
Absorbing drama about the adventures of a Palestinian teenager Eyad sent to a prestigious Israeli boarding school.
A filmmaker struggles to turn a notorious real-life crime into a feature film in Michael Winterbottom’s moving new drama.
Tense, muscular filmmaking that tells the gripping story of a young Somali fisherman reluctantly caught up in piracy.
Recently restored by the Imperial War Museum, this necessarily harrowing film on the horrors of the Holocaust was compiled from footage of the newly liberated camps.
A cop with a drink problem is re-assigned to a small backwater town only to discover that the main problem there is alcoholism, leading to an explosive climax.
A compelling and disturbing documentary about the US’s worst off-shore oil disaster.
Filmed over five years, Steve James’s classic documentary epic charts the fortunes of two boys hoping to make it as basketball stars.
Pedro Costa follows his Colossal Youth with a further showcase for Cape Verdean worker hero, Ventura – a haunting, poetic exploration of the night and Portuguese history.
A fascinating account of the life of a family of Afrikaaners who are attempting to cope with the dramatic changes that have taken place in their country over the last 20 years.
An account of life for young students in the Democratic Republic of Congo who face challenges beyond the curriculum.
An Israeli and a Palestinian woman swap roles in this mordantly funny drama from Israel.
Director Rakhshan Banietemad’s unforgettable drama travels through a twilight modern-day Iran replete with drug addicts, prostitutes and poverty.
A tense British political drama about a secret nuclear protocol from the 50s that’s put through its paces in the back rooms of Parliament to test real-world scenarios.
Petr Václav’s perceptive and unconventional study of a Czech Roma family features a magnetic performance by Klaudia Dudková as its determined heroine.
South Sudan is the focus of acclaimed filmmaker Hubert Sauper, as he uncovers the avarice in the fight over the country’s rich natural resources.
Short films programme
Sex and mutual attraction make the world go round. However, love and sex don’t always go hand-in-hand. Moreover, what is acceptable for one person is intolerable for another. These hard-hitting films question how we interact physically and emotionally with each other.