The Godfather (1972)

Where’s it on? Cinemas nationwide

The internet’s second favourite film – going by the IMDb top 250 – returns to cinemas this week for the umpteenth time, but now at the grand old age of 50. Francis Ford Coppola’s mafia epic may be a film you know from top to bottom, or a mountain you still have to climb, but there’s no shaking its place in the cultural firmament even half a century later. It’s a doorstop film, the way you get doorstop novels, packed with detail, incident and grandeur like no other. But it’s also the kind of pillar that it’s easy to take for granted, which is what makes a re-release like this so valuable. How will this meditation on the corrupting nature of power shape up in 2022? We can guess the answer, but settling into the dark of a cinema for 177 minutes is a helluva way to be sure.

The Indian Tomb (1921)

Where’s it on? Blu-ray

In durational terms, Coppola’s film is a pussycat compared with this mystical four-hour adventure from the silent era. Split across two parts, The Indian Tomb is the first of three cinematic adaptations of a 1918 novel by Thea von Harbou, the screenwriter who’d later write Metropolis (1927). The story sees a sinister maharajah (Conrad Veidt) commissioning a German architect to build an imposing Taj Mahal-style mausoleum for his wife, with the plan to entomb her alive in it. Directed by Joe May, it’s full of exotic, orientalist imagery and the kind of gigantic sets that 1920s German cinema is famous for. How lucky we are to now have this 100-year-old epic looking so sharp and tactile in high definition.

La Mif (2021)

Where’s it on? Cinemas nationwide

This debut feature by Swiss director Fred Baillif skirts the boundary between documentary and fiction as it follows the day-to-day existence of a group of teenagers living in a care home. Baillif adopts an ambitious, looping, Rashomon-style structure to circle back on events from the different perspectives of the various troubled teens and their adult guardians. Filmed in an intimate, naturalistic style, with true-to-life performances from an ensemble of non-professionals, La Mif brings to mind other recent care-home narratives, such as Short Term 12 (2013) and My Life as a Courgette (2016), but has also drawn plenty of comparisons to Sarah Gavron’s Rocks (2019) for its tender, unvarnished depiction of teenage friendship.

Love Affair (1939)

Where’s it on? Blu-ray

Love Affair (1939)

Coming right after his 1937 double of Make Way for Tomorrow and The Awful Truth, which found director Leo McCarey perfecting Hollywood tragedy and comedy respectively, Love Affair finds him splitting the difference to create a sublime romcom with a tragic turn. The story of a singer (Irene Dunne) and a painter (Charles Boyer) falling in love on a transatlantic cruise and agreeing to meet at the top of the Empire State Building six months later is now more famous via McCarey’s own 1957 remake An Affair to Remember – and that film’s re-enactment in Sleepless in Seattle (1993). But it’s the original that offers the gloss and rapture of black and white, McCarey instilling this three-hankie weepie with devotional, quasi-religious potency.

Lies and Deceit: Five Films by Claude Chabrol

Where’s it on? Blu-ray

Arrow’s box-set brings together a handful of the later films by the prolific French thriller specialist Claude Chabrol. Cop au vin (1985) and Inspector Lavardin (1986) introduce us to a Leslie Nielsen lookalike police inspector sticking his nose into a series of provincial crimes. Gustave Flaubert adaptation Madame Bovary (1991) and Georges Simenon adaptation Betty (1992) are complementary examinations of women trapped in passionless marriages. And Torment (1994) is a study in all-consuming jealousy, with a husband driven to distraction by the thought that his beautiful wife (Emmanuelle Béart) may be unfaithful. Wayward human behaviour is Chabrol’s furrow, and this handsome box serves up plenty of it.