THE FIVE BEST FILMS

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The Independent Culture
La Nina Santa (15, Lucrecia Martel, 103mins)

An erotically charged, controlled study of sudden sexual self-awareness, starring Mara Alche as the religiously inclined 16-year-old. Limited release

2046 (12A, Wong Kar-Wai, 129mins)

The director delivers a fantastically seductive sequel to his swooning 2000 psychodrama, In the Mood for Love. Nationwide

Million Dollar Baby

(12A, Clint Eastwood, 137mins)

Hilary Swank gives a Golden Globe-winning performance as a white- trash contender in the ruthless world of women's boxing. Nationwide

ZVera Drake (12A, Mike Leigh, 125mins)

A film of remarkable quality, with Imelda Staunton as the 1950s Londoner who helps out women with their unwanted pregnancies. Nationwide

Sideways (15, Alexander Payne, 123mins)

Two men go on a wine-tasting trip in California before one of them gets married in this beautifully toned, midlife-crisis movie. Nationwide

AND ONE TO AVOID...

Ladder 49 (12A, Jay Russell, 115mins)

Joaquin Phoenix is a firefighter who, trapped in a burning building, re-examines his life. Burning is too good for it.

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