Nitram (2021)

Where’s it on? Cinemas nationwide

Justin Kurzel is the Australian director who emerged with the horrific real-life murder drama Snowtown back in 2011. He’s done Shakespeare and video game adaptations since, but now he’s stepping back inside the police cordon for another true crime story, telling the events leading up to the 1996 Port Arthur massacre in Tasmania. We’re spared a dramatisation of the actual shootings, which were apparently inspired by the Dunblane massacre in Scotland the same year. Instead, Kurzel’s chilling drama offers a non-sensationalist portrait of the family life and unusual circumstances of perpetrator Martin Bryant, a young man with learning difficulties nicknamed ‘Nitram’ (played by Caleb Landry Jones).

Wayfinder (2022)

Where’s it on? Cinemas nationwide

A big-screen outing for the work of British-Ghanaian artist Larry Achiampong, Wayfinder is a pandemic-era entry in our homegrown tradition of psychogeographic cinema – those ruminative investigations of place and untold histories typified by the films of Patrick Keiller and Andrew Kötting. Achiampong’s film is a kind of lucid-dream journey around Britain, following the wanderings of a young girl played by Perside Rodrigues. Her stop-offs include such flaneurial epicentres as the vintage E. Pellicci café in Bethnal Green and Margate’s restored amusement park Dreamland. Achiampong captures many arresting images of edgeways and rural space as the Wanderer’s narration meditates on issues of race, belonging and economic exclusion.

Foolish Wives (1922)

Where’s it on? Mubi

Foolish Wives (1922)

Erich von Stroheim was the original Hollywood troublemaker, running afoul of studio bosses with his epic running times and unyielding directorial ambition. His 1924 film Greed is one of the most famously butchered of all films, surviving at a fraction of its intended length. The same is true of Foolish Wives, a glitteringly cynical drama about a womanising count’s life of scamming in Monte Carlo. The most expensive Hollywood film of its time, it was six hours or more in von Stroheim’s favoured version, but has come down to us 100 years later at just short of two and a half. It hangs together remarkably, nonetheless: an adult, erotic, psychologically penetrating vision of decadence and deceit.

Black Girl (1966)

Where’s it on? Blu-ray, also BFI Player

Black Girl (1966)
© Criterion

Ousmane Sembène’s piercing drama about the fate of a Senegalese immigrant in France comes round for its second UK Blu-ray edition – this time courtesy of Criterion. Mbissine Thérèse Diop plays the Dakar woman who takes work as a house servant for a bourgeois couple living in Antibes, but is alienated in her new home by a drip-drip of othering and microaggressions. A stunning feature debut for Sembène (whose early short Borom sarret is also included on the disc), Black Girl is also a landmark in African film – by some counts it’s the first feature to be made by a Black African. It was the start of a remarkable career, and we can only hope Sembène’s later films soon get similarly plush releases.

The Last of the Mohicans (1992)

Where’s it on? Netflix

The Last of the Mohicans (1992)

The first of the month usually brings a flush of new titles to Netflix. There’s not always a ton to get the blood up, but July’s batch does include Michael Mann’s The Last of the Mohicans. Celebrating its 30th anniversary this summer, this muscular yet tremulously romantic period adventure is almost certainly the most widely seen of the umpteen screen versions of James Fenimore Cooper’s classic story. Set in Adirondack backcountry during the French and Indian War of the mid-18th century, it was first movie to think of pitching our homegrown star Daniel Day-Lewis into olde America – a trend continued in The Age of Innocence (1993), The Crucible (1995), Gangs of New York (2002) and There Will Be Blood (2007).