Benedetta (2021)

Where’s it on? Cinemas nationwide, including BFI Southbank

Paul Verhoeven waves another red rag of cinematic provocation with his new film – his first in five years. The Basic Instinct and Showgirls director has returned with a 17th-century costume picture: an update on the notorious nunsploitation subgenre of the 1970s that comes with the contours of a prestige movie. Benedetta is a nun in a Tuscan abbey at a time of plague. Are her visions and miracles real or is she a clever con artist? Verhoeven pushes plenty of buttons while we make up our minds.

The Great Movement (2021)

Where’s it on? Cinemas nationwide, BFI Player from Friday

The world’s highest city, the Bolivian capital of La Paz, gets its own city symphony with this remarkable film from director Kiro Russo. Perched halfway between the abstracted urban rhythms of silent films such as Berlin: Symphony of a City (1927) and Man with a Movie Camera (1929) and the hypnagogic trance cinema of Apichatpong Weerasethakul, it’s the week’s most uncategorisable release, a magic-realist tone poem steeped in native tradition and the struggle of the city’s working classes.

Nineteen Eighty-Four (1954)

Where’s it on? Blu-ray and digital download

Here’s a piece of TV history that hasn’t lost its power to shock. Fresh from the BBC dramatisation of his chiller The Quatermass Experiment (1953), writer Nigel Kneale was set to work on this adaptation of George Orwell’s dystopian novel. Starring Peter Cushing in an early role as Winston Smith, it was done as a mixture of live broadcast and pre-recorded sections, and the results proved so unnerving a vision of a totalitarian Britain that questions were raised in parliament. Vintage it may be, but there’s ingenuity and resonance here that doesn’t age.

Dr. No (1962)

Where’s it on? Cinemas nationwide

Dr. No (1962)
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In Nineteen Eighty-Four, it’s rats. In the very first James Bond film, our villain’s creature of menace is a tarantula. Take your pick. To herald the 60th anniversary of 007 on screen, each and every official Bond escapade is getting re-released in cinemas in 4K from now until September. Dr. No is the one in the Caribbean, with Bond’s famous introduction at the card table and Honey Ryder (Ursula Andress) emerging iconically from the sea. There’s no pre-title sequence or much in the way of gadgets yet, but for lean, colourful, brutal entertainment the series has rarely improved upon it.

The Gang’s All Here (1943)

Where’s it on? Talking Pictures TV, Monday, 8am

Set your alarm on Easter Monday morning; this eye-popping Technicolor musical has to be seen to be believed. The peak of 20th Century Fox’s run of early 1940s song-and-dance movies set in exotic tropical locations, The Gang’s All Here weighs anchor in Brazil, where we get Carmen Miranda sashaying in her fruit hat and Busby Berkeley organising his dancing troupe into proto-psychedelic kaleidoscopes of colour. If you want to end your weekend with a giddy grin, here’s how.