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Sweet, passionate, tough – love is a complex and many splendoured thing.
Love: indestructible or just plain destructive? In all its guises, love brings both hope and despair. From the aching tragedy of The Police Officer’s Wife to the dysfunctional relations in Child’s Pose and The Past, familial ties threaten to unravel or damage the chances for happiness in the next generation (Bad Hair, Fandry, May in the Summer). Romance, however, may be thorny but it’s certainly not dead. Whether riding the coming-of-age rollercoaster of The Spectacular Now or dancing with the implications of ageing in Gloria: some still dare to live their lives with their hearts magnificently open.
Clare Stewart/Jemma Desai
This year’s Palme D’or winner is a strikingly uninhibited exploration of the messy, mesmerising and turbulent nature of love.
Love, chance, cinephilia and storytelling – a breezily inventive romantic comedy drama from up-and-coming French writer-director Sébastien Betbeder.
Robin Wright and Naomi Watts star in a subversive tale of grown-up friendship, female desire and sexual transgression from Anne Fontaine.
Artist and filmmaker Mariana Rondón’s engaging commentary on mother love finds nine-year-old Junior coming to terms with a confusing world.
Jean Cocteau’s much-loved Gothic fantasy La Belle et la Bête has been digitally restored to 4K to mark the 50th anniversary of the director’s death.
Insightful documentary on the life and work of legendary director Bernardo Bertolucci, using filmed interviews he has given over the last 50 years.
Utterly engrossing, Golden Bear-winning study of bourgeois Romanian morality as the well-off Cornelia strives to keep her wayward son out of jail.
The ‘untouchable’ Jabya struggles to reconcile his status with his dreams in Nagraj Manjule’s uncompromising indictment of India’s caste system.
A fresh and visually striking account of the personal relationships and changing sexual identity of a young swimming champion.
The romantic (mis)adventures of glamorous, disco-loving fiftysomething Gloria provide the narrative energy of Sebastián Lelio’s award-winning comedy.
French nuclear workers face the twin perils of radiation and amorous meltdown in a terrific blue-collar drama starring Tahar Rahim and Lea Seydoux.
Eliza Hittman’s naturalistic, intimate directorial debut fills a long Brooklyn summer with adolescent Lila’s sexual awakening and self-discovery.
The melancholic tale of a middle-aged farmer struggling with his repressed desires in the remote Dutch countryside.
The swansong of the late Rituparno Ghosh is a fittingly personal take on the LFF favourite’s own inspiration, the poet-artist Rabindranath Tagore.
A young aspiring actress in Syria discovers she has been inhabited by the soul of a woman who died on the day she was born.
Gracie’s Otto’s vibrant bio-doc of Michael White – playboy, bon vivant and the man who transformed Britain’s cultural scene in the 1970s.
One of Robert Mitchum’s greatest performances in Nicholas Ray’s subtle, evocative portrayal of the lives and modest dreams of proud rodeo performers.
Comedy about the travails of a Christian Arab-American writer and her attempts to marry her Muslim boyfriend against her mother’s wishes.
A glorious restoration of Jacques Demy’s only American film, a stylish late-1960s exploration of superficiality and voyeurism with Anouk Aimée.
If there’s only ever one love of your life, what happens if they slip through your fingers?
This love letter to Catherine Deneuve is also a deeply compassionate portrait of a woman who chooses one last shot at love over a lifetime of regret.
Asgahar Farhadi follows up A Separation with a gripping exploration of the secrets exposed by a collapsing relationship, with Bérénice Beyo.
An epic and tragically poetic study of the effects of domestic abuse on a young family.
Luchino Visconti directs Claudia Cardinale in this rococo vision of corruption, despair, betrayal and incest superbly restored and ripe for re-appraisal.
A touching portrait of erotic auteur Joe Sarno and his wife and collaborator Peggy, taking in the dying days of the pre-hardcore porn film business.
A Chinese Big Chill in the debut feature from Vicki Zhao, with a reunion testing the bonds of college classmates formed six years earlier.
James Ponsoldt’s bittersweet romance finds self-assured, drink-prone Sutter and uncool Aimee on a coming-of-age rollercoaster. Things could get messy.
Drama-documentary about the developing illicit romance between two teenagers in a conservative, rural Texan community.
Up-and-coming auteur Katell Quillévéré offers an emotionally astute drama about two sisters discovering life’s unpredictability – the hard way.
Romantic comedy about the ups and downs of a struggling experimental artist in 1970s Italy and his relationship with his wife and two children.
In Brillante Mendoza’s lovely realist drama Nora Aunor plays a childless midwife in a Muslim fishing village, determined to ensure her husband’s line.
Divorcing parents send their two kids to stay with Grandpa in a rural village for the summer in Chang Tso-Chi’s emotive film full of life lessons.
A love letter to Indian cinema – a timeless and beautiful romance set in the lush countryside.
Two Sapphic outlaws, a trumpet-playing cub-scout and a pair of bear traps. Nothing is what it seems in Denis Côté’s latest genre-bending work.
A seductive homage to Madrid and its artistic dreamers, with filmmaker Leon drifting among lovers and friends as, like his peers, he waits to work.
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