The Appointment (1981)

Where’s it on? Blu-ray

The opening moments of this rediscovered British horror film pull off a terrifying scare. It involves a girl wandering home along a country lane, when… well, you have to see it. From there the focus shifts to Wicker Man star Edward Woodward, playing an uptight father who unwisely opts to miss his daughter’s music recital in favour of going on a business trip. What ensues is a dreamlike road-trip horror in which he’s menaced in his car by mysterious forces. Something like a supernatural cousin to Spielberg’s Duel (1971), The Appointment was the only feature film by Lindsey Vickers, but it sank without trace after its VHS edition in the early 80s. After 40 years out of view, the recent BFI discovery of a decent master copy has enabled its release on Blu-ray.

July Tales (2017)

Where’s it on? Mubi

July Tales (2017)

Mid-July is the optimum time for watching this French diptych, given it’s set over 12 July and the Bastille Day celebrations of the 14th. Running just 68 minutes, it’s a concentrated hit of balmy French summertime, telling two separate stories of young people and the rules of attraction. In the first, two girl friends meet potential suitors during a sunny afternoon at a rowing lake. In the second, a Norwegian exchange student negotiates the advances of both a friend and a stranger. In each of them, frictions and felicities play out with a beguiling lightness of touch – although a climactic moment gives things an unexpected gravity. It’s no wonder that director Guillaume Brac has frequently drawn comparisons to both Éric Rohmer and Hong Sang-soo.

Laurent Garnier: Off the Record (2021)

Where’s it on? Cinemas nationwide, and BFI Player

Speaking of French touch, this new Kickstarter-funded documentary gives the portrait-of-an-artist treatment to techno DJ and producer Laurent Garnier. Getting an early taste for amped-up music at his family’s fairground, Garnier followed a similar trajectory to his UK dance-music contemporaries. His world was shaken by Detroit techno and Chicago house. He frequented The Hacienda in Manchester. He tells a great story about a year of no sleep, balancing French military duty by day with DJing till dawn. Turntable superstardom followed. The talking heads in Gabin Rivoire’s enamoured biography are a who’s who of early techno, including Jeff Mills, Carl Craig, Miss Kittin and Richie Hawtin. 

Green for Danger (1946)

Where’s it on? Talking Pictures TV, Sunday, 7.10pm

Green for Danger (1946)

Screenwriter Sidney Gilliat basically invented the witty train thriller with his work on Rome Express (1932), The Lady Vanishes (1938) and Night Train to Munich (1940). He turned to directing during the war, and one of his most entertaining films is this atmospheric murder mystery set during the Blitz. With his usual twinkle and wry humour, Alastair Sim plays the Scotland Yard inspector who arrives at a country hospital to try to ascertain why a suspicious number of patients are dying on the operating table. Chief suspect is Trevor Howard’s belligerent anaesthetist. Mixing comedy and suspense, Green for Danger was briefly banned for its potential to put people off hospitals.

Cemetery of Splendour (2015)

Where’s it on? BFI Player

People are dropping like flies in this enigmatic Thai drama too. In Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s first film since winning the Palme d’Or for Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2010), soldiers are becoming afflicted with a mysterious sleeping sickness. They’re cared for at a rural clinic, where Cemetery of Splendour joins two women volunteers who watch over the slumberers and try to help their visitors make contact. It’s a film with a slowed heartbeat, accumulating moments of sublime mystery and serenity in a manner that will be familiar to anyone who’s seen Apichatpong’s other great films. It’s been added to the subscription offering on BFI Player this week, along with his debut feature, Mysterious Object at Noon (2000). If you need further inducement, it’s his birthday on Saturday.