Radioactive, Released on 20th March
The sparking originality of this period drama chimes perfectly with its subject: the double Nobel Prize-winning physicist and chemist, Marie Curie. Fiercely inhabited by Rosamund Pike, Curie is depicted as an unapologetically driven, angular character, as awkward a fit for the social norms of early 20th-century Paris as she is for the conventions of a romantic biopic. Director Marjane Satrapi crafts the film around her, with a throbbing, irradiated colour palette and a series of windows through which we view the legacy, both positive and negative, of her science.
Rocks, Released on 10th April
A film full of crackling energy and personality, Rocks captures the dynamics of a group of multiethnic teenage girls like no other British film before it. Directed by Sarah Gavron, but extensively workshopped with East London teenagers, this is a film not just about adolescent girls but owned by them. Superbly acted by a cast of new, largely non-professional talents, the film deftly handles tonal shifts which veer between hilarity and tragedy, pathos and joy.
Les Misérables, Released on 24th April
This Oscar-nominated first feature from French-Malian director Ladj Ly is a propulsively thrilling film, set in the Parisian suburb of Montfermeil. Ruiz, a cop from the provinces, is transferred to the city and finds himself tagging along with a pair of unscrupulous veterans. Ruiz is torn between the loyalty he is expected to show to his colleagues, and his sworn duty to uphold the law. It’s bracing, muscular storytelling which shares themes and verve with Mathieu Kassovitz’s La Haine.