This year's Cork International Film Festival runs from 5-21 November, with films screening in cinemas and online - and we've selected 10 must-see films from the packed CIFF programme...

Ali & Ava

Acclaimed director Clio Barnard steers this heart-warming love story set in working-class Bradford. The spark when Ali (Adeel Akhtar) and Ava (Claire Rushbrook) meet is instant and they form a close bond through their deep love of music. But can love keep them together despite a barrage of obstacles? Transcending gritty realism with its huge heart, and featuring a cracking soundtrack that drives the story forward, Ali & Ava is another outstanding work from one of the UK's finest directors.

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Lyra

Lyra McKee rose from her working-class roots in war-torn Belfast to become an internationally renowned investigative journalist, working to highlight the consequences of the Troubles and seeking justice for crimes that had been forgotten since the Good Friday Agreement. In 2019, Lyra was murdered by dissident Republicans the day before Good Friday. Using hours of voice recordings from Lyra’s own mobile, computer and dictaphone, BAFTA-winning director (and close friend of Lyra) Alison Millar has crafted a beautiful and heartfelt film which allows Lyra to tell her own story.

Lyra McKee

The Dance

In his latest documentary, Pat Collins offers us a unique opportunity to witness the creative process of the world-renowned choreographer Michael Keegan-Dolan as he works on MÁM, a new dance and theatre production that brings together twelve international dancers, concertina player Cormac Begley and the European orchestral collective s t a r g a z e. Keegan-Dolan brings us to the Dingle peninsula for rehearsals, and from the openness of the initial conversations, improvisations and experiments the harmony of the final artwork slowly emerges.

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Titane

Presented in partnership with the French Embassy in Ireland, Titane tells the story of Alexia (Agathe Rousselle), a girl who loves cars more than humans. This thoughtful slice of body horror, with its fluid approach to gender boundaries, earned director Julia Ducournau the Palme d’Or at Cannes – the second woman (after Jane Campion) to receive the award.

Titane

Compartment No. 6

Finnish student Laura (Seidi Haarla) boards a train in Moscow, bound for an archaeological dig at the edge of the Arctic Circle in Murmansk. Having booked herself a sleeper cabin, she finds herself sharing the cramped space with Vadim (Yuriy Borisov), a foul-mouthed, foul-mannered guy heading to Murmansk for a mining job. Will relations within the cabin remain as chilly as the weather outside? Juho Kuosmanen’s Cannes Grand Prix-winner is delightful, funny and warm enough to thaw even the coldest climes.

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The Innocents

During a bright Nordic summer, Ida and her older sister Anna move to a new home. Ida wants to have some fun and make new friends while paying no attention to her autistic sister. But it turns out that not all the kids in the neighbourhood are good, and they also have some scary supernatural powers. A wonderful Scandinavian horror thriller, the second feature from Norwegian writer-director Eskil Vogt confirms that Vogt’s talents extend far beyond scriptwriting for Norwegian director Joachim Trier.

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Ahed's Knee

A film director attends a screening of his film in a remote part of Israel where he’s greeted by his greatest admirer: a young and beautiful officer from the Ministry of Culture. However, soon he finds himself fighting for his artistic freedom against the oppressive government. A brilliant, radical and intense account of Israeli trauma, Ahed’s Knee received the Jury Prize at Cannes this year, an award it shared with Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Memoria, also screening at CIFF.

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Jane by Charlotte

Presented in partnership with the French Embassy in Ireland, Jane by Charlotte is an intimate portrait of the famous singer Jane Birkin by her daughter, actress Charlotte Gainsbourg. More a dialogue between mother and daughter than a portrait of a famous mum by her famous daughter, this poetic and very personal documentary is full of intimate moments and emotions that are rarely shared in front of the camera. An artful, playful and very real documentary about music, love, life and family.

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Metropolis

Undoubtedly one of the greatest films ever made, Fritz Lang's Metropolis and its dystopian future were at the pinnacle of German expressionist cinema. It will be presented as a Cine Concert, featuring a newly commissioned score by Cork composers Irene and Linda Buckley and performed by percussion ensemble Bangers and Crash - this special presentation of Lang’s genre-defining work of science fiction will be a night to remember.

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Lamya's Poem

Lamya is a 12-year-old girl forced to flee a Syria devastated by violence and war. She finds refuge in a book of poetry written by the 13th-century Persian poet Rumi and, in this magical story, their paths intertwine as Lamya and Rumi find themselves fighting not just monsters but their own fears. This lovely 2D animated feature deals with its serious themes in highly imaginative and therapeutic ways, presented as part of a wider family programme at CIFF 2021.

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The 66th Annual Cork International Film Festival runs from 5-21 November. View the full programme here.