Berlin Syndrome (15)

Curzon Artificial Eye, £15.99

Australian director Cate Shortland announced herself with her 2004 coming-of-age tale Somersault, and followed it in 2012 with Lore, set in Germany immediately after the end of the second world war. For her third film she returns to Germany and, as with her previous two works, presents a story of a young woman in extremis. And how.

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This time we're in the present day as wide-eyed Australian traveller Clare (Teresa Palmer) emerges from a Berlin U-Bahn station, heads for a hostel and starts working her way through the list of clichéd backpacker activities: drinking until dawn with strangers, photographing street art, drifting through picturesque second-hand bookshops, and having a one-night stand.

Her pick-up is English teacher Andi (Max Riemelt, star of Netflix drama Sense8), who lives in one of those dirt cheap, uber-cool apartment blocks popularly believed to landscape the former East Berlin. Maybe they do. Either way, his is massive, quiet, apparently airy, and filled with hip mid-century furniture and bookshelves groaning with tasteful art books. So when Clare wakes the next morning to find Andi already gone to work and the front door locked, she is puzzled but not too perturbed. When the same thing happens the next day she starts to realise that she's a prisoner and she is angry. When she grabs her phone and finds her SIM card gone, she becomes scared. What follows is an exploration of the so-called Stockholm Syndrome, in which a prisoner comes to form a psychological relationship with their captor. And so begins a bizarre and twisted sort of domesticity, intercut with episodes of violence and danger.

Shortland handles the drama well enough, and there are flavours here of everything from Room to Repulsion to Last Tango In Paris. But as with Somersault, the director often lets her cinematography become fey or indulgent – there are one too many shots of dust motes dancing in the sunlight, for example – while Shaun Grant's script never digs deeply enough into Andi's motives or where Clare finds her resources of courage and fortitude. The film is ultimately unsatisfying as a result.

Suntan (18)

Eureka!, £12.99

For over a decade now, Greek cinema has shown itself to be a muscular (and often wilfully absurd) new voice on the international stage. The trailblazer is Yorgos Lanthimos, director of Dogtooth, Alps and the award-winning Lobster, his first English language film. Working in his slipstream are directors like Athina Rachel Tsangari, who made the excellent Chevalier, a story about a group of wealthy Greek men on a sea fishing trip and a blackly comic study of pompous masculinity. Now one of her stars in Chevalier, Makis Papadimitriou, takes the lead role in this film from another new name in Greek cinema, Argyris Papadimitropoulos.

Papadimitriou plays taciturn, 40something doctor Kostis, who arrives on the Aegean island of Antiparos on a cold winter day to take up the post of local GP. He settles in, is more or less accepted by the locals, and undertakes his duties diligently. At first, anyway. But then he finds his life turned upside down when the island is swamped with summer visitors seeking sun, sea and sex. On the nudist beach adjoining the island's camp site, Kostis encounters all three in the form of free-spirited Anna and her achingly hip friends. He inveigles his way into the group and, as a troubling emotional back story is hinted at, falls in love. For Anna, it's just another summer fling. For her friends, it's a humorous, beauty-and-the-beast episode, but one which becomes increasingly wearing as Kostis's passion turns to obsession, and then to something darker.

The director employs cinematographer Christos Karamanis, who also shot Chevalier, and his camera work manages to evoke both Kostis's emotionally washed-out world and Anna's lustrous, golden, sun-kissed one. Composer Yannis Veslemes, meanwhile, provides a soundtrack which reflects Kostis's own mental dissonance. It's neatly and intelligently done, and has one of those bravely ambiguous endings so few directors have the courage to deliver. Argyris Papadimitropoulos: remember the name.

The Legend Of The Holy Drinker (PG)

Arrow Academy, £14.99

Rutger Hauer stars in this adaptation of Joseph Roth's 1939 novel, shot in 1988 by Italian director Ermanno Olmi, best known for his 1978 Palme d'Or winnner The Tree Of Wooden Clogs. Hauer plays Andreas, a homeless alcoholic living in Paris who encounters an old man on the banks of the Seine (a great cameo from Anthony Quayle). The man gives him 200 Francs and tells him to repay it when he can by leaving it at the shrine to a specific Catholic saint. What follows is Andreas's attempts to clear his debt, a task which becomes Sisyphean with every daily setback. Roth, himself a chronic alcoholic, died before the novel was published and that sense of gloom and doom pervades Olmi's film, as does an odd feeling of timelessness: Andreas and everyone in his immediate vicinity appear dressed in clothes from the 1930s or 1940s, yet there's no attempt to disguise that fact that the backdrop is 1980s Paris. Slow, occasionally ponderous and heavily veiled – Andreas's back story is only revealed gradually – The Legend Of The Holy Drinker is a powerful work well worth discovering.