Sky Arts 1: Monday 6 July, 12am
College student Anamaria Marinca tries to arrange an abortion for roommate Laura Vasiliu in provincial Romania, 1987… during the waning days of the detested Nicolae Ceausescu regime. Feted with the Palme d’Or at the Cannes film festival, Cristian Mungiu’s chillingly grim drama unfolds like a dreadfully fascinating horror story in long, look-away-now takes. Unsurprisingly, it missed out on an Oscar nod for Best Foreign Film. Not nearly cute enough. A serious picture that did make the Academy Award shortlist was the 2008 Austrian drama Revanche (Sky Arts 1, Thursday 9 July, 10pm). Unfolding at a stately, contemplative pace, Götz Spielmann’s strikingly composed film is as much keenly etched character study as crime thriller. A precisely constructed picture that’s as elegant as its crafty title: in German, the French word revanche means not only revenge but also a second chance, another opportunity. It’s a deceptively simple, casually profound spin on fatalistic film noir themes.