We’re All Going to the World’s Fair (2021)
Where’s it on? Cinemas nationwide, including BFI Southbank
Coming on like a Paranormal Activity-style tech horror, but ending up somewhere far more haunting and resonant, non-binary filmmaker Jane Schoenbrun’s chilling fiction debut is a Cronenbergian study in life lived extremely online. Alone in her bedroom, teenage Casey takes part in the World’s Fair challenge, a murky internet game involving participants posting evidence of their physical and psychological transformation. This is the screenlife horror film slowed to the hypnotic timbre of ASMR, an avant-garde genre movie steeped in alienation and melancholy.
Love Jones (1997)
Where’s it on? Blu-ray
Theodore Witcher deserves a mention in the roll call of directors who made one great film then never directed again. His sole feature, Love Jones, sadly represents a bit of a cul-de-sac in 90s film. Its tale of the stop-start courtship between a poet and a photographer in modern Chicago was a conscious attempt to buck Hollywood’s trend for films about Black lives being defined by guns and violence. But audiences didn’t show up for it, so it set an example that few followed. Now canonised as part of the Criterion Collection, this sexy, soulful 90s romance awaits your discovery.
The Ox-Bow Incident (1942)
Where’s it on? Talking Pictures TV, Sunday, 12.15pm
This tale of lynch-mob fury ranks among the most celebrated of all 1940s westerns. A social conscience drama in cowboy clothes, William A. Wellman’s terse, righteous classic even got an Oscar nomination for best picture – one of few westerns to ever be so honoured. Henry Fonda and Dana Andrews play the two cowpokes who ride into Bridger’s Wells, Nevada, right into the thick of local heat around cattle rustling and a murder. The gathering storm breaks over 75 minutes in claustrophobic black and white.
12 Angry Men (1957)
Where’s it on? Film4, Monday, 11am
Henry Fonda is back pricking the conscience of the ensemble players in this classic courtroom drama – the big-screen directorial debut of Sidney Lumet. Fonda is juror number 8, the lone voice among 12 who believes a boy accused of murdering his father may be innocent. Based on Reginald Rose’s teleplay, Lumet’s drama sits us down in the sweaty jury room as Fonda attempts to turn the tide and save the boy from the chair.
The Pearl Button (2015)
Where’s it on? BFI Player
With the latest work from Chilean documentary titan Patricio Guzmán, My Imaginary Country, about to be unveiled at Cannes, here’s an opportunity to catch up with his visionary 2015 film The Pearl Button. Like its predecessor, 2010’s Nostalgia for the Light, it’s a cosmic odyssey into Chile’s history and geography, an excavation of a turbulent past that takes in the horrors of Pinochet’s regime and the plight of the nation’s indigenous people. Bound together by the theme of water, Guzmán’s historical anecdotes include the case of Jemmy Button, a local of Tierra del Fuego who was taken to England in the 1830s after being ‘bought’ for the price of a button.