The Independent Recommends: The Five Best Films

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Happiness (18)

Set in New Jersey, Todd Solondz's second film is a dark comedy of loneliness and sexual deviancy that reaffirms this young writer-director's talent.

Best Laid Plans (15)

Brit director Mike Barker's first American movie neatly rolls a warped love story and a blackmail thriller into one, and features strong performances from Alessandro Nivola and Reese Witherspoon.

Orphans (18)

Peter Mullan's darkly comic tale (right) of four siblings and a funeral movingly captures the emotional stresses of bereavement over the course of a storm- tossed Glaswegian night.

eXistenZ (15)

David Cronenberg plunges deep into the grotesque in this futuristic tale of a computer-games designer (Jennifer Jason Leigh) on the run from a fatwa. Dark, comical, and not for the squeamish.

The Chess Player (PG)

Satyajit Ray's 1977 historical drama focuses on the rivalry between two chess-playing friends against the backdrop of the British annexation of India in 1856. Sanjeev Kumar and Saeed Jaffrey play the oblivious pair with relaxed charm. NFT

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