Cries and Whispers (1972)

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

Red walls and tormented emotions set the scene for this Ingmar Bergman classic. It’s a tale of three sisters – one who is dying, two who are falling apart. In a mansion sometime in the 19th century, their drama of sisterly resentments plays out as one of the Swedish master’s most intense and disturbing psychodramas. With piercing performances by Bergman regulars Liv Ullmann, Harriet Andersson and Ingrid Thulin, this is a film of emotional horror and void-staring anxiety. Astonishingly, it was nominated for five major Oscars.

Homebound (2021)

Where’s it on? Cinemas nationwide

More family tensions in a big house. Sebastian Godwin’s debut feature sees Holly (Aisling Loftus) heading to the country to meet her new husband’s ex-wife and children. When she gets there though, the mother is mysteriously absent. What’s more, the husband turns out to have some strange ideas about how to bring up children. Homebound is a brisk 71 minutes that’s reminiscent of some of the eerier offerings from the 1970s Play for Today strand.

True Things (2021)

Where’s it on? Cinemas nationwide

Harry Wootliff made the emotionally bruising 2018 relationship drama Only You. Now she’s back navigating the choppy waters of adult relationships with this adaptation of Deborah Kay Davies’ 2010 novel True Things About Me. Ruth Wilson plays a Ramsgate woman in a dead-end job who falls for Tom Burke’s charming ex-con. Passion ensues – she gets a new lease of life, but he blows hot and cold. What seemed ripe may be rotten to the core. 

Coach to Vienna (1966)

Where’s it on? Blu-ray

Coach to Vienna (1966)

A road through a forest enshrouded in mist. A horse-drawn carriage making a lonely journey. Two Wehrmacht soldiers have forced a Czech widow to take them back to Austria. Keeping virtually silent, she’s brewing a plan for revenge. This drama of shifting loyalties has the focus of a one-act stage play. But for the soldiers’ uniforms, we might be in the middle ages. An earlier work by Karel Kachyna (director of 1970’s The Ear, one of the great paranoia films), it’s another valuable discovery from the 1960s Czech New Wave by the fantastic Second Run DVD.

Shoot the Messenger (2006)

Where’s it on? Blu-ray

Shoot the Messenger (2006)
© BBC

After a series of remarkable short films, British-Nigerian director Ngozi Onwurah broke ground in 1995 with her futuristic fable Welcome II the Terrordome – the first British feature directed by a Black woman. Now the bad news: she hasn’t been able to make another film for cinemas since. This feature-length BBC drama from 2006 confirmed her talent though. It’s a spiky, punchy satire, full of asides to camera from a young David Oyelowo. He plays a firebrand secondary-school teacher whose life goes into tailspin after wrongful claims of assault by a student.