The small films not to miss now that big screens are open again

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Outside of the big blockbusters, there’s a host of interesting smaller movies coming to the big screen – here are some to watch out for.

Cinemas are open once again across the UK and audiences are returning to the soothing lights of the silver screen. Right now, my personal choice is to stay home and watch movies through VOD. Thankfully, that’s an option for many new releases, which are receiving a home video release at the same time, or very soon after, their big screen roll out. It feels like a huge shift for audiences to get so much choice in how to check out such a number of new releases.

But some things are the same as they ever were. There’s still the big emphasis on a few films, while lots of other, very interesting and often quite superb movies battle for the left-over publicity, screening space, and audience awareness.

I haven’t seen a single one of these so I don’t think I can afford any critical commentary but here are some of the smaller-release pictures that will be in UK cinemas in the next few weeks and, in most cases, also available to rent, buy or stream at home.

Rare Beasts

The directorial debut of Billie Piper. Available to rent via VOD and in cinemas on 21 May.


The feature directorial debut of Chino Moya who, I’m telling you now, is going to be a much-heard name in the coming years. Available to rent via VOD and screening in cinemas right now.


Ben Whishaw is cranked to the max. Available to rent via VOD and screening in cinemas on 28 May.

Earwig and the Witch

Not to be confused with Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Studio Ghibli’s first CG feature. In UK cinemas on 28 May from interesting new upstarts, Elysian Films.

First Cow

Kelly Reichardt’s latest. In UK cinemas on 28 May with a Mubi release on 9 July.

The Lady in the Portrait

With Fan Bingbing. In UK cinema(s?) now. Screenings will be very hard to find but Cinefile are likely to release to Vimeo in due course.

Lupin III: The First.

Seems like one cinema chain will have this for limited screenings only on 2 June before the imminent disc and VOD rollout.

State Funeral

A document of the Soviet Union in the wake of Stalin’s demise. Screening in UK cinemas and streaming on Mubi from 21 May.


Directed by Midnight Run’s George Gallo. In UK cinemas and on VOD from 28 May.

Felix and the Hidden Treasure

Bobbing along in UK cinemas on 4 June. I guess this is what kids have these days instead of Tintin.

After Love

The mighty Joanna Scanlan in what looks to be a very potent drama. Let’s have both a teaser and a full trailer for this one. In UK cinemas from 4 June, though the release plan will see it roll across the network of BFI-supported cinemas through the following several weeks.

Some interesting films will forego cinema releases entirely (PG: Psycho Goreman on Shudder, Shiva Baby on Mubi) while some films already released for home viewing will get a belated/second chance at a cinema run (Nomadland, Minari, Sound of Metal, Judas and the Black Messiah… um… Cats & Dogs 3: Paws Unite).

We are very much still in the midst of a pandemic but cinema lives on, wherever we are watching. Here’s to more choice for audiences, more respect for the films being screened, and to looking past the big movies hogging the spotlight to find more films we’ll love, whatever their budgets and promotional profile.

Lead image: BigStock

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