The Zone of Interest’ Image courtesy of A24.

First up, from Fri 2 Feb we welcome the British entry for the Academy Awards’ Best International Feature Film – The Zone of Interest to our screens. The Cannes Grand Prix Winner, now 9x BAFTA and 5x Oscar nominee, marks director Jonathan Glazer’s first feature film since, the now legendary, Under the Skin (2013).

Loosely based on the 2014 novel of the same name by Martin Amis; the film focuses on the commandant of Auschwitz, Rudolf Höss (Christian FriedelThe White Ribbon, Amour Fou) and his wife Hedwig (Sandra HüllerAnatomy of a Fall, Toni Erdmann) as they strive to build a dream life for their family in a house and garden next to the camp. Sandra Hüller’s BAFTA nominated performance helps portray the banality of evil that permeates the film, for a viewing experience quite unlike anything else you will have seen.

Have a read of Time Out’s 5-star review, and watch the chilling trailer for The Zone of Interest.

American Fiction‘ Image courtesy of Curzon.

Continuing with awards contenders, 5x Oscar nominee American Fiction also screens here from Fri 2 Feb. The biting comedy-drama from feature directorial debutant Cord Jefferson tells the tale of Thelonious “Monk” Ellison – a frustrated writer who pens an outlandishly stereotypical “black” book as satire, only for the book to be published to high sales and praise. Jeffrey Wright (Asteroid City, Westworld) provides a worthy Oscar-nominated performance in this timely satire that challenges the ethics of consuming media, as well as the framework that art is situated in.

Check out The Guardian’s adoring review and view the trailer for American Fiction.

The Iron Claw’ Image courtesy of Lionsgate.

Keeping up with the quality this month, The Iron Claw opens from Fri 9 Feb. A few times every year, a sports commentator will exclaim ‘YOU COULDN’T WRITE THIS!’ when an external sporting narrative coincides with a huge sporting moment. This logic certainly applies to The Iron Claw, a story so tragic and monumental that it would be deemed to be too unbelievable if it were simply fiction. Sean Durkin’s (Martha Marcy May Marlene, The Nest) drama centres upon the true story of the influential Von Erich wrestling family in the late 80’s, and a supposed curse that afflicts them.

Featuring an all-star cast with the likes of Zac Efron (High School Musical, 17 Again), Jeremy Allen White (The Bear, Fremont) and Harris Dickinson (Triangle of Sadness, Scrapper) as the Von Erich brothers – whose familial bond is tested by overbearing parents, brotherly competition and the strive to seek immortality through sport. Never shying away from pain inflicted upon the male body as a punishment of ego, whilst wholeheartedly highlighting brotherly love as the attempted challenger to overcome it. The Iron Claw is one of the most compelling films of the year, and although majorly snubbed, fits in perfectly with the rest of the awards contenders this month.

Read Empire’s praiseful 5-star review and see the powerful trailer for The Iron Claw.

Perfect Days‘ Image courtesy of MUBI.

Following this, make sure you don’t miss out on the profound gem Perfect Days, directed by the legendary Wim Wenders (Paris, Texas, Wings of Desire) from Fri 23 Feb. Nominated for Best International Feature Film at this year’s Oscars, the film invites the audience into a slice of life drama centred upon Hirayama, who seems utterly content with his simple life as a cleaner of toilets in Tokyo, as a series of unexpected encounters gradually reveal more of his past – in a performance for which Kōji Yakusho (Babel, Cure) won Best Actor at Cannes.

The film serves as a warm reminder that although the world can be a mess, there’s always something right in front of your eyes that makes it more than worth living, similar in effect to Jonas Mekas‘ acclaimed art-house documentary As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty. These moments can be as small as a look up into the leafy veins of a tree, a peaceful lunch-break, or creating order in an entropy driven world; but there’s always some beauty there if we just look.

Check out Collider’s glowing review and view the trailer for Perfect Days.

Who are you rooting for this awards season? Let us know by tweeting us, or dropping us an email.

View our full cinema listings.