Men (2022)

Where’s it on? Cinemas nationwide

Following an inspired run in thoughtful sci-fi that includes Ex Machina (2014), Annihilation (2018) and the miniseries Devs (2020), author-turned-writer-director Alex Garland now joins the burgeoning cult of British filmmakers in thrall to the tradition of 1970s folk horror. The conspicuously titled Men plays like an unacknowledged semi-remake of the BBC classic Robin Redbreast (1970), in which a city woman goes for a restorative stay at a house in the country but soon discovers some rather odd goings on in the rural community – not least a naked man prowling the grounds. Jessie Buckley is the woman fleeing past trauma, while Rory Kinnear multiplies himself creepily as the various male oddballs trespassing upon her solitude.

This Happy Breed (1944)

Where’s it on? Film4, Friday, 4.25pm

This Happy Breed (1944)

If it’s flag-waving you’re looking for this weekend, look no further than the Victory Parade sequence of David Lean’s solo directorial debut: the screen is suddenly awash in red, white and blue, all rendered in wet-paint Technicolor. But this epic domestic drama is far richer than its reputation as a wartime morale booster would suggest. Following a working-class Clapham family through the thick and thin of the peacetime years between 1919 and 1939, Lean’s film opens up Noël Coward’s original play with gliding camera movements and a wonderfully expressive visual palette. Historical events come and go, a nation emerges from one war and sleepwalks slowly into the next, but Lean keeps the focus at ground level, to view an epoch through the prism of everyday life. EastEnders has its roots here, and Terence Davies owes it plenty.

Pickpocket (1959)

Where’s it on? Cinemas nationwide from Friday

Like jazz, French cinema had an annus mirabilis in 1959. The 400 Blows and Hiroshima mon amour shook the ground, announcing the French New Wave. Meanwhile, Robert Bresson released Pickpocket, his 75-minute anti-thriller whose clipped, metronomic editing represented a further refinement of his unusual methods. The tale of a diary-keeping Parisian man with a compulsion for stealing, it’s among the great director’s most accessible films, generating real suspense – not to say a forbidden erotic charge – in its sequences of Michel contorting his hand to slip into the pockets of the unsuspecting. No less than in his studies of a parish priest (Diary of a Country Priest, 1951) or a prisoner of war (A Man Escaped, 1956), Bresson zones in on objects and surfaces, but paradoxically plumbs a soul.

Bergman Island (2021)

Where’s it on? Cinemas nationwide from Friday

A Bresson theme park may be difficult to imagine, but a Bergman one actually exists. On Fårö, the Swedish island where Ingmar lived and made some of his greatest works, you can take a ‘Bergman safari’, then – as one Tripadvisor review puts it – “have lunch at the cozy Wild Strawberries café”. These touristy trappings provide the backdrop to this new film from Mia Hansen-Løve, her first in English. Vicky Krieps and Tim Roth play a filmmaker couple who’ve come to Fårö to recharge batteries at a writer’s retreat, no doubt hoping the ambience of genius will rub off on their own endeavours. As reality and fiction begin to blur, Hansen-Løve spins a sunlit study of creativity and marriage that – for all the talk of Bergman – triumphantly goes its own way.

I Walked with a Zombie (1943)

Where’s it on? BBC Four, Thursday, 10.15pm

I Walked with a Zombie (1943)

One of those haunting jewels of horror cinema made in quick succession by producer Val Lewton for RKO in the 1940s, I Walked with a Zombie sees a Canadian nurse encountering voodoo rituals and the living dead after being hired to care for the wife of a Caribbean sugar plantation owner. The director here is Jacques Tourneur, following up his own Lewton entry Cat People (1942) with another masterpiece of shadow and suggestion. I Walked with a Zombie borrows its basic plot from Jane Eyre, but the tale finds new, disturbing resonances transposed to a colonialist setting scarred by slavery and exploitation. In 65 dread-inspiring minutes, it’s Hollywood horror at its most surreal and abstract. Screening in a double bill with Cat People.