From Ghost Dance to Le Mepris, we look at 10 cult films to take your mind off the fact that you’re running out of loo roll

Le Mepris by Jean-Luc Godard
Le Mepris by Jean-Luc Godard
I Hired a Contract Killer (1990)

Director: Aki Kaurismäki

After fifteen years’ service, Henri Boulanger (Jean-Pierre Léaud) is made redundant from his job. Shocked, he attempts suicide, but can’t go through with it, so he hires a contract killer in a seedy bar to murder him at some unspecified time in the future. But almost immediately he meets and falls in love with Margaret, a flower-seller, which makes Henri realise that his life has some meaning after all. But when he goes back to the bar to cancel the contract, he finds it has been demolished – and there’s no way he can get in touch with the killer. Kaurismäki ventured to London for his one film in English.

Fear Eats the Soul (1974)

Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder

A lonely widow meets a much younger Arab worker in a bar during a rainstorm. They fall in love, to their own surprise-and to the outright shock of their families, colleagues, and drinking buddies.Often described as a remake of Sirk’s 1955 film, the plot of Fear Eats the Soul actually stems in part from a story told by a barmaid in another Fassbinder film, The American Soldier (1970).

Ghost Dance (1983)

Director : Ken McMullen

Through the experiences of two women in Paris and London, Ghost Dance offers a stunning analysis of the complexity of our conceptions of ghosts memory and the past.

In the Mood for Love (2000)

Director: Wong Kar-wai

Two neighbors, a woman and a man, form a strong bond after both suspect extramarital activities of their spouses. However, they agree to keep their bond platonic so as not to commit similar wrongs.

Le Mépris (1963)

Director: Jean-Luc Godard

Paul Javal is a writer who is hired to make a script for a new movie about Ulysses more commercial, which is to be directed by Fritz Lang and produced by Jeremy Prokosch. But because he let his wife Camille drive with Prokosch and he is late, she believes, he uses her as a sort of present for Prokosch to get get a better payment. So the relationship ends. Working with his biggest budget to date, Jean-Luc Godard created a sublime widescreen drama about marital breakdown.

Winter Sleep (2014)

Director: Nuri Bilge Ceylan

A hotel owner and landlord in a remote village deals with conflicts within his family and a tenant behind on his rent. Ceylan’s film offers a forensic examination of the subtle power plays and moral compromises of daily life, in a studied, stately drama that recalls Chekhov and Bergman at their most incisive.

The Darjeeling Limited (2007)

Director: Wes Anderson

A year after the accidental death of their father, three brothers — each suffering from depression – meet for a train trip across India. Francis, the eldest, has organized it. The brothers argue, sulk, resent each other, and fight. The youngest, Jack, estranged from his girlfriend, is attracted to one of the train’s attendants. Peter has left his pregnant wife at home, and he buys a venomous snake. After a few days, Francis discloses their surprising and disconcerting destination. Amid foreign surroundings, can the brothers sort out their differences? A funeral, a meditation, a hilltop ritual, and the Bengal Lancer figure in the reconciliation.

Snow Trail (1947)

Director: Senkichi Taniguchi

Three bank robbers, Eijima, Nojiri, and Takasugi, flee the police and escape into the mountains. At an inn high in the Japanese Alps, Eijima and Nojiri encounter a young woman and her father, as well as Honda, a mountaineer. The inn folk do not realize their guests are wanted criminals and the visitors are treated with great kindness. Honda volunteers to lead them over the mountains, but Eijima’s paranoia endangers all of them as they make the perilous trip. Working from a script by Akira Kurosawa, director Senkichi Taniguchi charts the Treasure of the Sierra Madre-style fallout between the stranded criminals.

12 Years a Slave (2014)

Director: Steve McQueen

In the years before the Civil War, Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York, is kidnapped and sold into slavery in the South. Subjected to the cruelty of one malevolent owner, he also finds unexpected kindness from another, as he struggles continually to survive and maintain some of his dignity. Then in the 12th year of the disheartening ordeal, a chance meeting with an abolitionist from Canada changes Solomon’s life forever.

Jamón, Jamón (1992)

Director: Bigas Luna

Jose Luis has a cushy corporate job at the lingerie factory his mom, Conchita, owns. Jose Luis makes the acquaintance of Silvia, a beautiful laborer on the underwear assembly line, and he is instantly lovestruck. When he announces his intention to marry this blue-collar woman, Conchita is quite displeased, so she enlists the hunky Raul to take Silvia’s mind off her son. The plan works, until Conchita also falls for Raul.