The estimable Stéphane Brizé follows up Not Here to Be Loved (2005), Mademoiselle Chambon (2009) and The Measure of a Man (2015) with A Woman's Life, an adaptation of Guy de Maupassant's first novel, Une Vie (1888). Previously filmed with Maria Schell and Christian Marquand by Alexandre Astruc in 1958 - under its original title, although it was also known as End of Desire - this represents a surprising move from social realism into period refinement. But Brizé and cinematographer Antoine Héberlé make astute use of the boxy Academy ratio to curtail any heritage ostentation and keep the audience alert to significant events occurring beyond the frame.

Returning from her convent school to the idyllic country home of Baron Simon-Jacques Le Perthuis des Vauds (Jean-Pierre Darroussin) and his wife, Adélaïde (Yolande Moreau), Jeanne (Judith Chemla) enjoys helping out in the garden, playing backgammon with her mother and showing her sketches to her maid, Rosalie (Nina Meurisse).. One day, Abbé Picot (Olivier Perrier) brings the dashing, but impecunious Viscount Julien de Lamare (Swann Arlaud) to stay with the family and Jeanne quickly develops a crush.

Despite her parents worrying that she is marrying beneath her, Jeanne becomes Julien's wife and is touched by his promise to love her forever. But she is disappointed by the brusqueness of his love-making and hurt by his penny-pinching ways and proprietorial arrogance after her parents move out of their home to give them room to start a family. Moreover, she is crushed to discover that he has forced himself on Rosalie and that she is expecting his child. After she leaves service with her son, Picot attempts to mediate to save the marriage and Adélaïde coaxes the pregnant Jeanne into accepting Julien's tearful apology by stressing the importance of forgiveness.

Jeanne gives birth to her own son, Paul, and develops a friendship with neighbours Countess Gilberte de Fourville (Clotilde Hesme) and her husband Georges (Alain Beigel). Her parents spend more time at the house, although Adélaïde is ailing and unable to join in the lively game of croquet that seems to suggest that Jeanne and Julien have resolved their issues. However, shortly after her mother dies and she finds letters from a secret lover among her belongings, Jeanne discovers that Julien and Gilberte are having an affair and the new parish priest, Tolbiac (Father François-Xavier Ledoux), informs her that she is conspiring in the deception by not telling Georges that he is being cuckolded. Yet, when Jeanne refuses to send Georges a letter, the self-righteous priest breaks the news himself and Georges responds by killing the lovers before taking his own life.

Welcoming Simon-Jacques to her home, Jeanne lives quietly while the 12 year-old Paul (Rémi Bontemps) goes to boarding school. His unhappiness is evident when she visits, but her father insists that the child completes his studies and learns to stand on his own two feet. By the age of 20, however, Paul (Finnegan Oldfield) has run up substantial debts and, after a brief period at home, he runs away to London with his mistress vowing to make his mother proud by earning a fortune. He continues to live beyond his means, however, and communicates solely through begging letters, in which he threatens to kill himself unless Jeanne sends him funds.

By 1846, Jeanne is living alone in the increasingly rundown chateau, although the recently widowed Rosalie has become her companion. She has been living on a farm given to her by Simon-Jacques and refuses to accept wages for running the household. But, as a lawyer informs Jeanne, the sale of so many farms to pay Paul's debts, has left her with insufficient income to maintain the house. Thus, when he sends a request for a further 180,000 francs after the failure of his latest scheme, Jeanne feels duty bound to respond. But Rosalie urges her to reject the next missive and questions whether he has been left to raise an infant daughter following the death of his wife. The pair quarrel, as Jeanne accuses Rosalie of hiding her money. But she promises to travel to Paris to check out Paul's story and the film ends with the friends fussing over a sleeping baby and reminding each other that life is never as good or as bad as it may seem.

Although there is plenty of plot to fit in, Brizé, co-writer Florence Vignon and editor Anne Klotz cannily employ short scenes that allow the audience to become accustomed to the period conventions and the personalities of Jeanne and Julien. Initially, the symbolism is a little florid, while some might object to the frequent and occasionally jarring time shifts. But, as Jeanne's ordeal becomes more onerous, Brizé and Héberlé darken the rain-lashed imagery to reflect her growing melancholy, as her beloved mother and spoilt son let her down with their secrets and lies.

The ensemble playing is exemplary, with Judith Chemla outstanding in Madeline Fontaine costumes and make-up by Garance Van Rossum that emphasise the loss over 27 years of her youthful radiance and hope. Production designer Valérie Saradijan also makes effective use of the changing seasons, as the sun-dappled garden becomes a muddy quagmire and balmy sea breezes give way to fierce gales. Hervé Guyader's sound design also proves crucial in conveying the winds that keep buffeting Jeanne, while Olivier Baumont's piano score reinforces the hollowness of an existence that Brizé delineates with deft details rather than the sweeping gestures that so often undermine the authenticity of heritage pictures. Indeed, the power of the drama often comes from what Brizé opts to leave out, as in the case of Julien's betrayal, which is presented in long shot as he tries to calm Jeanne down in the darkened garden, while she evades his grasp in sobbing despair. The aftermath of Georges's murderous rampage is also delicately done, as Brizé shows life in all its grimness and glory, while also suggesting that too little has changed for women in the 135 since Maupassant published his tome.

Producer and occasional director Lili Fini Zanuck got to know Eric Clapton when he composed the score for her debut turn behind the camera, Rush (1991). They have been good friends ever since and that bond prevents Zanuck from presenting an in-depth analysis of the enduring guitar legend in Eric Clapton: A Life in 12 Bars, as she readily accepts his assertion that much of the music he produced after the Derek and the Dominoes album, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs (1970), is unworthy of consideration because he can hear how drunk he was when he recorded it. Such an admission is fascinating and Zanuck and Clapton address the alcoholism that almost destroyed his career with admirably unflinching honesty. But to dismiss so many songs that make up Clapton's solo canon short-changes the audience and inevitably means that Zanuck is only telling a fraction of what could have been the definitive story.

Born in Surrey on 30 March 1945, Eric Clapton was raised by his grandmother, Rose, and her second husband Jack Clapp. According to his Aunt Sylvia, he long believed his mother, Patricia, was actually his sister and was deeply hurt as a nine year-old when she paid a visit with her second family and made it clear that she had no maternal feelings towards him. Fortunately, he had already discovered the blues, thanks to Uncle Mac playing Muddy Waters's My Life Is Ruined' on his BBC radio show, and Clapton dropped out of the Kingston School of Art to join the likes of Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Brian Jones at the famous Marquee Club.

He was 17 when Oxford sculptor and pianist Ben Palmer advertised for a guitarist to join The Roosters in 1963 and he made such an immediate impact that he was snapped up by The Yardbirds just eight months later. Taking his music as seriously as his duty to promote the black bluesmen who had inspired him, Clapton was horrified to see the way the fans screamed during The Beatles Christmas Show at the Hammersmith Odeon in 1964 and quit the band when they recorded the decidedly poppy `For Your Love' in March 1965. His tenure with John Mayall and The Bluesbreakers proved equally short, although it allowed him to widen his musical horizons when he became aware of world music stars like shehnai player Bismillah Khan while staying with Palmer and Mayall.

Switching to a 1960 Les Paul Gibson Standard guitar and a Marshall amplifier, Clapton developed a sound that openly astonished Bob Dylan (as seen in a clip from DA Pennebaker's 1965 documentary, Don't Look Back) and earned him a devoted following who fervently believed that `Clapton is God'. His reputation burgeoned further when he formed Cream with Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker and scored a hit with `I Feel Free' in July 1966. This brought him to the attention of American guitarist Jimi Hendrix and a bromance developed after their first meeting at the Bag o' Nails in September.

While Cream launched the brief vogue for supergroups, Clapton began to find Bruce and Baker hard work and the trio parted following a memorable farewell concert at the Royal Albert Hall in August 1968. Clapton was far from idle, however, as he guested on Aretha Franklin's `Good to Me As I Am to You', jammed with BB King, sat behind John Lennon during the live transmission of `All You Need Is Love' and, at George Harrison's invitation, played a seminal solo on the White Album track, `While My Guitar Gently Weeps'. As girlfriend Charlotte Martin recalls, however, these sessions at Abbey Road proved significant for another reason, as Clapton fell head over heels with Harrison's model wife, Pattie Boyd.

Having moved to Hurtwood Edge to be closer to the Harrisons in Esher, Clapton wrote `In the Presence of the Lord' for Boyd and performed it with new band Blind Faith during a concert in Hyde Park in July 1969. Despite finding it difficult to express intimate emotions, he also sent Boyd a long love letter. Moreover, having helped Harrison record his first solo album, All Things Must Pass, Clapton poured out his feelings for Boyd in `Layla', which he recorded with his new outfit, Derek and the Dominoes. Resorting to cocaine and heroin to help him cope with his overwhelming passion, Clapton succeeded in wearing Boyd down and they slept together, only to bump into Harrison at a party that night, where he gave Boyd an ultimatum before taking her home.

Once again using songs like `Thorn Tree in the Garden' to explore his feelings, Clapton went to record at Criteria studios in Miami in August 1970, where he fell under the influence of ace guitarist Duane Allman. Returning to London, he played the Layla album to Boyd, who was aghast because she thought everyone would know about their affair. Crushed by her rejection, Clapton lost Jimi Hendrix and Jack Clapp within a few days of each other and he recalls cursing them for leaving him alone when he most needed them. Confiding in Rolling Stone's Steve Turner that he had a death wish, Clapton embarked upon a lost weekend that ended with a comeback concert at the Rainbow Theatre in January 1973. As James Oldaker remembers, however, the tour the following year was a nightmare, with a drunken Clapton often raving at the audience from the stage.

Zanuck flashes back at this point to Clapton vowing never to trust anyone again after a disastrous visit to his mother on a military base in Germany. He was certainly alone at this juncture, as a racist tirade upset his musical heroes, while (as interview clips show) he was often out of it on drink and drugs. His luck changed, however, when Boyd left Harrison and threw herself into hauling Clapton back from the brink. But Zanuck ducks the next part of the story, as Clapton and Boyd married and he tried to rebuild his career. A flash montage of album covers takes the story to the release of the Journeyman album in 1989, by which time Clapton had broken up with Boyd, had a daughter, Ruth, with AIR studio manager Yvonne Kelly and a son, Conor, with Italian model Lory Del Santo. He had also been to rehab and was devoting himself to fatherhood when Conor was killed in a fall out of a 53rd floor window in New York and Clapton channelled his grief into `Tears in Heaven'.

Fifteen years on, Clapton is a changed man. He and wife Mella McEnery have three daughters, Julie, Ella and Sophie, and he now considers his addiction centre in Antigua to be more important than his music. Indeed, he auctioned 100 guitars to raise funds for the charity and Palmer commends his friend for having turned his life around and suggests that it takes a remarkably strong personality to have withstood so much and come out the other side in such good health and with such a positive attitude. Capably edited by Chris King, this is worth seeing just for the chronicle of Clapton's changing hairstyles. But, by relating too many oft-told tales rather than delving into dark recesses, Zanuck allows a golden opportunity to slip through her fingers. Keeping all interviewees, including Clapton himself, off camera neatly dispenses with the age-old problem of how to make talking-heads look as interesting as their revelations. However, the musical choices feel overly safe, while Zanuck fails to press Clapton on his influences and technique, let alone on why he found it so hard to be part of a group during the 1960s and how it feels to regard much of one's revered musical legacy as the footlings of an unhappy drunk.

As is often the case in such retrospectives, it might have been nice to have some objective critical assessment of Clapton's achievement. But this feels too much like a favour for an introverted and often inarticulate friend to risk anything other than hazy memories and admiring musings. Consequently, it falls well short of the standards set by Martin Scorsese's Bob Dylan: No Direction Home (2005) and George Harrison: Living in the Material World (2011), and Peter Bogdanovich's Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: Runnin' Down a Dream (2007).

Julien Temple knows his way around a rockumentary, viz The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle, UK Subs: Punk Can Take It (both 1979), Rolling Stones Live at the Max (1991), The Filth and the Fury (2000), Glastonbury (2006), Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten (2007), The Sex Pistols: There'll Always Be An England (2008), Oil City Confidential (2009), The Ecstasy of Wilko Johnson (2015) and Keith Richards: The Origin of the Species (2016). Having made Ray Davies: Imaginary Man for television in 2010, he is clearly the perfect choice to profile The Kinks in the forthcoming You Really Got Me. But Temple takes a detour from Haringey to Camden Town in order to chart the career of Madness and their iconic frontman, Suggs, in My Life Story.

Essentially, this is the big-screen version of the one-man show that Suggs (real name Graham McPherson) started touring in 2012. Having spray-painted the title (complete with an ellipsis and a question mark) on an alleyway wall, Suggs emerges on to the stage of a bijou theatre with pianist Deano Mumford. He sits on a chair and recalls the 50th birthday bash his wife Anne had organised for him at Wilton's Music Hall. The following morning, while sitting in the bath, he had witnessed the strange death of his beloved cat, Mamba, and following an emotional exchange with a cat-loving cabby, Suggs had decided to ask his mother about the father who had supposedly walked out on them when he was three.

A cutaway takes us to a jazz club in Manchester, where the 18 year-old Edith Gower is performing with the house band. Warming to her theme, Edith reveals that she had spent time singing in The Blue Angel in Liverpool, which was the preferred watering hole of The Beatles after they had been playing at The Cavern. Here, she had met a man who got her a job in the Colony Club in London. Suggs recalls the seedy clientele that used to frequent Soho's private members clubs and bursts into an abbreviated version of the classic Kinks song about a transvestite, `Lola'. This sparks a memory about spending afternoons in the cartoon cinema on Piccadilly Circus and his surprise at seeing junkies shooting up. However, he was unprepared for Edith to disclose that his father was a heroin addict who ended up in the asylum at Tooting for trying to inject himself with paraffin.

Struggling to come to terms with the fact that his father had been a decent man before he succumbed, Suggs flashes forward a decade to his first job, as a butcher's apprentice in Chapel Street Market, and the aquamarine suit that cost £8 in 1977 and yet made him feel like a million dollars. This purchase is amusingly presented as a pastiche of the children's television series, Mr Benn, while a later segment on baggy trousered school days resembles the opening credits of Grange Hill. But, such is the stream of consciousness nature of the show that Suggs ties in the suit with teenage punch-ups between rival gangs of punks, skins and rockers and an encounter with a group of heavy metal fans in the pub to which he had repaired following Ethel's recollections.

During the course of his peripatetic childhood, Suggs spent time with an aunt and uncle near Haverfordwest and found himself enjoying the countryside and improving at school. Things changed when he returned to the capital and enrolled at the Quintin Kynaston comprehensive in Swiss Cottage, where he was teased for his faint Welsh accent and rapidly became demotivated. Taking a nickname from a dictionary of jazz musicians, Suggs became a prolific graffiti tagger. This led to a showdown with a glam rock gang, the discovery of girls in the Duke of Hamilton pub in Hampstead and party invitations to posh houses full of stealable records. Drolly comparing nicking an armful of LPs to illegal downloads, Suggs delivers a crisp rendition of `Shut Up', which is intercut with snippets from the original Madness video. He insists that he only discovered he could sing while leaving a screening of George Lucas's American Graffiti (1973) and being invited to join the North London Invaders by three of his glam tagging nemeses, Mike Barson, Chris Foreman and Lee Thompson. However, as he was a dedicated follower of Chelsea and had a fortnightly appointment to defend the honour of The Shed, Suggs found himself being demoted from singer to drummer and then sacked altogether.

Back on his 50th birthday, he has wandered out of the rocker pub and been chased into Reckless Records by an army of insolent urchins who have no idea who he is. But, then, he realises, neither does he. His Wikipedia page knows more about his antecedents than he does. So, he took a train to Birmingham to find out what William McPherson had done with himself between conceiving a son and dying in 1975.

It strikes him that his father passed on just as Suggs kicked off and he remembers being drafted back into the band as singer just before the name was changed to Morris and the Minors. Now playing some of their own songs, as well as cover versions, they hit upon a ska vibe combined with an Ian Dury style of lyric delivery that went down well with the punters of The Dublin Castle in Camden Town and The Hope and Anchor in Islington. It also struck a chord with Jerry Dammers of The Specials, who convinced Madness to sign to his 2 Tone label.

The Specials hailed from Coventry and Suggs himself arrives in the Midlands after his relaxing train journey north. In the registry of births, marriages and deaths, he discovers that William had remarried and made a career as a photographer. He is touched that he managed to turn his life around and only wishes that they could have shared his success, as Madness released their first singles, played Top of the Pops and embarked upon the chaotic 2 Tone Tour that confirmed the popularity of the ska craze. However, they soon moved to Stiff Records, where `One Step Beyond' gave the band a cult cachet that was reinforced by the wacky videos that became their calling card.

Around the time Madness freaked out The Clash by interrupting a rehearsal dressed as coppers, Suggs married Anne (aka Deaf School vocalist Bette Bright). All his family attended, with the exception of his father and this segues into a visit to the Birmingham house where he had spent his final years. The old lady who opened the door had never heard of the McPhersons and Suggs couldn't work out if he felt disappointment or relief.

Meanwhile, Madness had started to burn out and they agreed to call it a day. Seeking gainful employment, Suggs briefly hosted a karaoke show on Channel 5 before hosting a programme on Virgin Radio. He also got to play crooner Al Bowly alongside Keira Knightley and Sienna Miller in John Maybury's The Edge of Love (2008). However, his role proved small and he experienced a further disappointment when he found that William's widow had succumbed to an overdose the year after he had died without a job. Rather than turning his life around, therefore, he had remained a junkie with no hopes and even fewer options.

Following a reunion-cum-farewell gig, Madness began playing regularly and Suggs tells a poignant story (complete with a Tommy Cooper impression) about replacing Oasis on the night that Liam and Noel had their final spat in Paris. Things may not always have run smoothly, but he realised that his Madness bandmates had been a better surrogate siblings than the Gallaghers appeared to be. Thus, even though he had failed to find out about his father, he had learned that he was a nice enough man and that his own best course of action was to keep heading forwards, with just the occasional look back. Closing with a slightly self-conscious run through of `It Must Be Love', this compellingly genial trip down one Nutty Boy's memory lane seems to end far too quickly and many watching the final credit crawl in a cinema will envy those lucky souls in the audience at Hoxton Hall and the Shepherd's Bush Empire, who had the pleasure of seeing the show live. They would, however, have missed the nifty footnotes compiled by Julien Temple, which not only take the monologue out of the auditorium, but also complement it by juxtaposing archive clips with location shots that make the recollections more vivid.

Ably abetted by Mumford at the upright piano, Suggs very much remains centre stage, however. Indeed, his relaxed delivery recalls that of Dawn French in her own one-woman show, 30 Million Minutes, which was recently shown on the BBC. But, as the old videos demonstrate, Suggs has always had presence and his radio days have clearly honed his gift of the self-deprecating gab. A couple of gags come close to falling flat, but the audience is so clearly on his side that they receive enough good-natured groans to push them over the line. For the rest, this is slick and knowing without being fussy and smug and anyone around in Madness's heyday will relish every second. CinemaItaliaUK returns to the Regent Street Cinema in London on 16 January with a double bill comprising Nicola Gallani's Arrivederci Clerkenwell and Patrick Grassi's Sharp Families. Sadly, it wasn't possible to see the former snapshot of the Little Italy enclave, but adequate compensation comes in the latter profile of the capital's knife-grinding community and its strong links to a small village in Val Rendena in Trentino.

Grassi first came across the London Grinders Association during a stay in the UK. He spent a year familiarising himself with the changing face of the trade and the routes staked out by the Italcutlery and Povinelli firms. But he also took two trips to the Dolomite hideaway of Carisolo, which is where Bernardino Nella was born nine decades. Having relocated to London to work for his brother in 1950, he pursued the ancient craft of knife-grinding and built up the business that was taken over by his nephew, Paul Giacopazzi, when Bernardo retired in 2000. When London's restaurants, cafés, bars and butcher's shops started renting rather than owning knives, Paul responded to the change and now runs a million-pound enterprise with his son, Sam.

Ending centuries of grinding on the client's own premises (or the street outside), Paolo Povinelli was among the first to modernise when he took over his late father's business and still does very nicely against rising Pakistani and Turkish competition. However, Armo Collini is in the process of winding down, as his son isn't interested in following in his father's footsteps and the founder of the LGA (and inventor of the game of grindstone rolling and the composer of the knife-grinder's prayer) is planning to retire to Pinzolo after 60 years of service. But, if the polenta party hosted by Nella is anything to go by, Armo is going to find retirement to his liking, especially as Paul and Povi will drop in during their regular visits.

Slickly photographed by Sebastiano Facco and briskly edited by Valeria Fabris, this is a genial insight into a traditional craft that has found ways of remaining relevant in an fast-changing market. Driven by a guitar score by Tatiana Sporzon, Stefano Manfrin and Morgan Zenere, the film has a satisfyingly old-fashioned feel, as it intercuts interviews with workshop and delivery footage. It might have been nice to learn a bit more about the actual art of knife grinding, but Grassi admirably captures the sense of camaraderie, while also showing ahead of Brexit how much London relies of its immigrant communities.

The first moving pictures to flicker to life in Oxford were presented by itinerant showmen at St Giles' Fair in September 1897 and the grand tradition of roaming the countryside to screen the latest films continues in several parts of the world. Outlying villages in India, for example, still rely on regular visits from wandering projectionists like the one played by Trupti Bhoir in Gajendra Ahire's Touring Talkies (2013), a Maharashtrian spin on Giuseppe Tornatores Cinema Paradiso (1988) that finds an ideal companion in Shirley Abraham and Amit Madheshiya's The Cinema Travellers, which is showing this week under the Dochouse banner in London.

Inspired by Madheshiya's 2010 photography exhibition and five years in the making, the action opens as Mohammed brings his Sumedh Touring Pictures to a funfair in rural India. As darkness falls and the lights and music of the various rides draw in thrill-seekers of all ages, Mohammed lures punters to the tented screen positioned on a patch of rocky ground and snaps back when they protest at being kept waiting because the print has yet to arrive. He barks orders at his crew and blames them for any slip-ups during the screening that is greeted with enthusiasm by a small, but rapt audience.

His projection equipment has seen better days and repairs to one rusty part seem likely to cause damage elsewhere. But Mohammed loves the movies and still derives pleasure from bringing old-fashioned entertainment to people who rarely get the opportunity to gaze at the big screen. Competition from television and the Internet means that takings are down and Mohammed is reluctant to let snack sellers into the tent without buying a ticket. Yet he packs up at the end of his booking with unending optimism that things will be different at the next stop.

He bundles his consignment of film reels into sacks and sends them on to Bapu, who operates the rival Akshay Touring Pictures from a rickety old truck that has stood idle for so long that the cab is filled with cobwebs. As he removes the strip of celluloid holding the door closed and dusts down the dashboard dials, his assistant cleans the projector, burns incense over it and declares it ready for action. The only trouble is, the lorry's engine has packed up and Bapu has to steer while a tractor tows him through the narrow streets leading to the wasteland where he erects his tent. He attracts a sizeable crowd and annoys some of the older patrons by letting children in for free.

In a nearby town, 70 year-old Prakash (whose name means `light') opens his repair shop. He first saw a feature film in the mid-1950s. But, while his pals were fascinated by the action on the screen, he wanted to know where it came from and became convinced that the projector was the heartbeat of the movie business. Forever tinkering with machines from across the globe, Prakash has invented his own oil-bath projector that is easier to maintain and he still has high hopes that it will catch on.

Back on the road, Mohammed arrives in a small town in the midst of a religious festival. He reveals that turnover is so small that he doesn't have enough money to send home to his wife. So, when The Second Wife fails to drum up enough support, he switches to The Beaitiful Maid in the hope of making a killing. However, his cause is not helped by the film breaking down in the middle of the show and he is confronted by angry young men demanding refunds. He shouts them down and berates his technical staff, but the show goes on and most people go home satisfied.

Bapu rolls into Ond village to be greeted by excited children, who even enjoy watching him rewind the reels on a a hand-cranked spool. A lovely shot shows a young boy silhouetted against the screen, as he follows the action. But the tent is far from full and a series of cuts shows locals watching movies on their own television sets while eating their supper. As Bapu concedes, technology waits for no one and fewer new titles are being released on 35mm celluloid, which means that he has to rely on a dwindling stock of oldies that many potential customers will have seen before. He parks the truck with a dawning realisation that time is running out for the travelling projectionist. Yet he turns down an offer for the business and the same sense that things might turn a corner keeps Prakash open all hours, just in case someone needs his help and word spreads.

In the interim, he will restore an old stringed instrument and try to stop the rain that seeps through his roof from damaging the old prints stored on his shelves. This proves something of a losing battle and he shows the camera some ruined footage. Mohammed and Bapu also suffer during the rainy season, as their tents are far from waterproof and even the more recent releases struggle to draw the crowds. But Prakash remains optimistic and he puts the finishing touches to the restoration of an old projector and reminisces about the time when showmen beat a path to his door for emergency repairs so they could fulfil an evening booking.

At much the same time, Bapu and Mohammed decide to buy digital projectors so they can exert total control over the audiovisual quality of their screenings. Bapu is napping beside his truck when an old assistant comes to take him to the stockist, while Mohammed invites the camera into a trial run and he is overjoyed by the sharpness of the image and the clarity of the sound. Yet when Bapu returns to Ond to premiere his new apparatus, the digi-box demands an update that he can't access because there is no Internet connection and he feels sad at letting down the kids who flock to his shows.

Rummaging through a workshop that has become something of a mausoleum, Prakash finds a notebook of all the repairs he has done down the years. Smiling wistfully, he jokes that the book was nearly thrown away and remembers the days when he was rushed off his feet because there were so many showmen on the road. But the time has come to shut up shop and Mohammed puts one more machine out of commission when he wheels the old faithful that has served him for 35 years to a junkyard, where he sells it for 14,000 rupees (which is $215) to a former showman who realised there was more money to be made smashing old movie equipment than operating it. The camera records a man named Sofiyan dismantle the casing, salvage the working parts and toss the scrap into a corner of the room. It's an ignobly sad end for a projector that has brought so much pleasure to so many people.

Out in the fields, Prakash gives a demonstration of his automatic seeding device and confides that the time has come to try pastures new. He hopes that his machine will catch on, as he needs to make a living now that he has quit the projector repair game. Badu is determined to plod on to the end of the season, however, and he returns to Ond with a hastily repaired copy of Puja Jatinder Bedi's Ghost (2012), whose sprocket holes have been burnt through the sticky tape that's holding it together. This horror delights the boys who volunteer to advertise the screening over the tannoy system because the poster bears the strapline, `A Forehead Smeared in Blood'. Given that there has just been a cultural show at the school, prospects for a bumper box-office send-off are slim. But the projector splutters into life once more and, for now, India's travelling show goes on.

Including clips from Dada Kondke's Yeu Ka Gharat (1992), Abhinav Kashyap's Dabangg (2010) and BVS Raul's Wanted (2011), this a mournfully affectionate tribute to the die-hards striving to keep a venerable tradition alive. The days when nomadic projectionists rolled into town to a heroic reception may be long gone. But the demand for big-screen entertainment in the subcontinent's remotest byways remains and it's to be hoped that Mohammed and Bapu are not the last of the line.

Atmospherically photographed by Amit Madheshiya to capture both the vastness of the landscape, the bustle of the jatra festivals and the hushed intimacy of the Stygian tents, this elegiac requiem for a fading art takes its rightful place alongside such fictional delights as Jiri Menzel's Those Magnificent Movie Cranks (1979) and Alla Surikova's The Man From the Boulevard des Capucines (1987). But for all the warmth that is suffused by Laura Karpman and Nora Kroll-Rosenbaum's softly spoken score, this will linger longest because of the excruciating chop shop sequence, which is so knowingly offset by the scene in analogue manages to bite back when Mohammed can't get a signal to update his software.

Following Nati Baratz's Unmistaken Child (2008) Gesar Mukpo's Tulku (2009) and Jennifer Fox's My Reincarnation (2011) in exploring the Tibetan Buddhist belief that high-ranking lamas and Rinpoches are reborn in the bodies of chosen hosts, Moon Chang-Yong and Jin Jeon's Becoming Who I Was follows an Indian child and his mentor over eight years, as they seek acceptance of their claim and strive to cross into a rigidly controlled autonomous region of China so that the `Living Buddha' can begin his new life. Tackling complex spiritual and political themes with knowing discretion, this offers some intriguing insights into the verification process and the strain it places on boys whose juvenile earthly instincts are often stronger than their nascent divinity.

Four years have passed since nine year-old Padma Angdu first started quoting passages from the teachings of a revered, but long-deceased Buddhist monk. Moreover, he also began describing detailed memories of his time in a monastery in Kham in Tibet. But Angdu was born in the village of Sakti in the Indian Himalayas near Ladakh and, initially, his claims were only taken seriously by Urgain Rigzin, a lama who also happens to be the area's only doctor. Urgainn was appointed the boy's guardian and he is shown bringing his books to the school where Angdu is teased by female friend Disket Dzesdan for being scared of fast-moving balls and firecrackers.

Mother Tashi Yangdol recalls how she resisted a suggestion to abort her fourth child, as the pregnancy might prove difficult. But she was determined to keep her first son and always felt there was something special about him. We flashback to 2009 when Rigzin was first entrusted with the boy and see footage of his enthronement as Dzogchen Gurmet Naton Wangbo after Atak, another Rinpoche, confirmed his claim. But, while a monk from Kham has promised to pass on the news that one of their high lamas has reincarnated in Sakti, no one has come to claim Angdu and Rigzin is becoming concerned that the local monks are running out of patience.

Indeed, in 2014, Angdu was expelled from the monastery and Rigzin had to quit his role as a traditional doctor to raise him. He toils away with the washing and chopping firewood while the boy is at school and they have fun throwing snowballs on their way home. Rigzin also creates a sledge run so that Angdu and his pals can go zipping down a hill and their squeals of delight are matched by the whoops made by the novices with whom Angdu plays tag when he visits another monastery. But, while he dispenses blessings to the faithful, Angdu remains a child and he unintentionally hurts Rigzin's feelings when he asks why he has to live in one room when other Rinpoches have their own monasteries.

In addition to studying for school exams, Angdu also has to learn Buddhist scripture and Urgain gently encourages him when he starts to yawn. Aware that Disket is much brighter than he is, Angdu takes it to heart when a drunk accuses him of being a fake Rinpoche and Rigzin urges him to ignore those who have nothing better to do with their time than cause trouble. However, he has to leave him alone for a week to visit some patients and earn a little money. He worries that he will die before Angdu has grown up and would be appalled how close his young charge comes to burning down the hut while trying to light the stove. However, he survives to cook for himself and make tea for Dzesdan and male chum Jigmet Lindup when they come to visit. He admits that it upsets him when strangers question his validity and wishes that the Kham monks would recognise him so he can stop feeling so worthless.

Wearing a deer mask with impressive antlers, Angdu worries that his dreams about Kham are becoming less frequent and less vivid. He also finds local ceremonies less enjoyable and confides in Dzesdan that he fears Rigzin is getting old. Moreover, he feels disinclined to study and has tantrums when Rigzin and Yangdol tick him off for slacking. Fortunately, lama Shedrup Konchok pays them a visit in 2015 and arranges for the monastery to take Angdu back. But he is so unhappy at being separated from Rigzin that he makes a speedy return and they warm their hands together by the stove with a touching sense of satisfaction.

The following year, however, Konchok returns with a recommendation that the 12 year-old Angdu (who now wears glasses) moves to Kham to further his education. He bids a tearful farewell to Yongdal and sets off with Rigzin across the snowy mountain terrain to attempt to cross into Tibet, where the monks are not always treated with respect by the Chinese authorities.

Arriving in the holy city of Varanasi, Angdu is puzzled by Hindu attitudes to death and decides that it's better to be reincarnated as Dzogchen than as one of the monkeys leaping around the tall buildings. But he also wonders if he is experiencing bad karma (his own or Dzogchen's) because he is not enjoying the adventure. He perks up, however, after they hitch a ride in a lorry and stay in a hotel, where Andgu is puzzled why the stars are sitting on the mountainside and Rigzin has to explain about electric lighting. The next day, Angdu plays badminton in the street with a young Indian boy, although he feels self-conscious that so many people are staring at him.

Following a bus ride, the pair strike out on foot. Two months into their expedition, they are in good spirits, with Angdu using his fingers to make binoculars to see what people are doing back home and teasing Rigzin for his poor Hindi. Travelling in all weathers, they pass through Sikkim and Lachung, which are close to the Tibetan border. When the temperature plummets, they stop at a shop owned by Thaming Bhutia to buy multi-coloured gloves for Andgu and she invites them inside for tea. She warns them that the Chinese will stop them crossing the frontier, but they stride into the snow like a latterday King Wenceslas and his page, as Angdu thanks Rigzin for getting him so far and for always believing in him. The doctor replies that it's a pleasure to serve him and it becomes painfully clear how much they will miss each other if they succeed in reaching journey's end.

`Who put all the world's snow here?', Angdu asks, as they trudge along in poor visibility. They climb upwards in the hope that they boy can see Kham. But, with his teeth chattering, he settles for blowing a conch horn to let his disciples know that he is near and the companions perch on a rock and contemplate their next move.

A caption reveals that a monastery in the borderlands agreed to accept Angdu and we see them praying before an enormous statue of Buddha in the temple. Before he departs, Rigzin suggests they have a last snowball fight, even though the woodland setting couldn't be more verdant, and they roll around in hysterics at the silliness of their game. Both shed tears before Rigzin waves a last goodbye, however, and he urges Angdu to be the best Rinpoche he can be. But they have made a promise to meet again in 15 years time and Angdu declares that the day he gets to serve Rigzin will be the happiest of his life.

Few will be able to watch these closing scenes with dry eyes, but there is nothing maudlin about Angdu and Rigzin's parting. Their love for and trust in one another is sincerely touching, while the lama's faith in both his religion and his protégé is truly humbling. Acting as their own cameramen and editors, Moon Chang-Yong and Jin Jeon record the burgeoning friendship with evident affection, although they do allow Bang Jun-suk's piano score to tug a little too plaintively on the heartstrings towards the end.

Making effective use of drones to add drama and perspective to the road sequences, the co-directors capably convey the magnitude of the task facing Rigzin in returning the Ripoche to his spiritual home. But they are careful to avoid giving offence by delving too deeply into China's handling of the Tibetan situation and the conditions that exist inside the last remaining Buddhist monasteries. Perhaps it's as well, as this is a study of two souls rather than a geopolitical tract.

Finally, this week, Tatiana Huezo demonstrates that a hard-hitting documentary can also be artistic with Tempestad, a harrowing exposé of people trafficking and government collusion in Mexico that boldly counterpoints voiceover testimony with lyrical imagery that is both illuminating and thought-provoking. Following on from The Tiniest Place (2011), a study of a village in Huezo's native El Salvador recovering from years of civil war, this potent piece of storytelling suggests that there is more to actuality than talking heads and stylised reconstructions.

On 31 August 2010, Miriam Carbajal was woken in the middle of the night and taken from her cell to the visiting area of the privately run prison in Matamoros in northern Mexico. She was informed that her case was being dropped for lack of evidence and she was driven to the bus station to head for her home town of Tulum. Barely recognising herself in the washroom mirror after several months behind bars, Miriam spends the first part of the 2000 km journey gazing out of the window and wondering how her young son, Leo, will react to her return.

As Miriam describes her emotions on the soundtrack, Huezo and cinematographer Ernesto Pardo capture the passing scene, as passengers leave a bus at a police checkpoint and are subjected to questioning and luggage searches. This reminds Miriam of the day she was arrested, 2 March 2010, when she reported for work in the immigration department at Cancun airport, only to be told that she and her colleagues had been accused of organised crime and people trafficking. They were flown to Mexico City and kept in the holding cells at El Arraigo, where a lawyer informed her that the Federal Investigation Agency was under pressure to find culprits and that they were `pagadores', who had been chosen at random to pay the price for the crimes of others.

After 80 days, Miriam was transferred to Matamoros, a self-governing facility near the Texas border that was owned by a cartel. Here, the male guards subjected her to beatings and forced her to fan them with her t-shirt. She was also told that her relatives would be expected to pay a $5000 arrival fee before the imposition of a weekly sum of $500 to ensure that her life was `respected' by the sicarios who ran the place. They put her to work as a cleaner until her initial down payment was confirmed and she became familiar with the local prostitutes who used to ply their trade in the guardhouse, as well as in the bars in the nearby town. However, her situation eased after she was befriended by a guard name Juanita, who took pity on Miriam, as she had lost a leg as a child.

At this point, Huezo introduces Adela Alvarado, a middle-aged mother of three who works as a circus clown. She struggles with the slide-away table in her camper van, as she explains that she hails from a circus family and first started helping her clown father when she was seven. As we see children rehearsing their skills in the big top, Adela recalls the joy she felt on becoming pregnant for the first time and the bond that was forged with the child growing inside her. However, it was her second child, Monica, who made the deepest impression, as she was overdue and had arrived shortly after a performance, while Adela was being carried to the delivery room on a stretcher. The infant had sobbed on entering the world, as if she knew that sadness awaited her, but she had been a happy child, who had joined her mother in the ring at a young age to twirl a baton.

Adela shares a joke with her three of her adoring nieces and they are wiping tears from their eyes when they remember Monica and Adela has to regain her composure. The wind howls outside the tent and it blows us back to Matamoros, where Miriam remembers the day she saw a 17 year-old migrant boy named Martin beaten to death with a board. This shocking revelation is quickly followed by Adela revealing that Monica was kidnapped from the college campus where she was studying. She was 20 years old and the FIA ordered the family to remain indoors and await a follow-up to the ransom demand. But the call never came and the FIA agents who had been billeted at the house finally left after six months.

As rain lashes down on the circus tent during Adela's recollection of her ordeal, Miriam muses on the fear she had felt after witnessing an execution. She vowed to survive in order to raise her son and befriended an inmate with influence through a shared love of music. Eventually, she told Miriam that she no longer needed to make her quota payments and she was mightily relieved, as her family had little money and she had been terrified that they would miss a deadline. Emboldened, Miriam began to feel safer. But, after her release, she bumped into the guard who had bludgeoned Martin in a church and had been taken aback to see him praying with such fervour before playing with his young daughter.

A decade has passed since Monica disappeared and Adela has discovered that a college friend named Jesus betrayed her to the sons of some renegade cops. She fears that she has been forced into prostitution, but knows she can't allow herself to be tormented by speculation. Her family has fragmented and she keeps moving with the circus to avoid feeling targeted by her persecutors. We see her putting on her make-up and costume and standing in shadow with her nieces, while a tiny young acrobat strikes a pose. Many miles away, Miriam is shown (for the first and seemingly only time) floating in the sea from a towering top shot, as she recalls how she was released a month after Martin had perished. She still trembles when she remembers his fate and is determined to hide her sorrow from Leo, who gives her the strength to carry on, even though she remains afraid that their relationship has been permanently damaged by the injustice she suffered.

The mournful music of Leonard Heiblum and Jacobo Liberman plays over the closing credits to reinforce the sense of pain that permeates this deeply unsettling picture. Delicately edited by Huezo and Lucrecia Gutiérrez Maupomé, the footage conveys the dread that lingers in the background of daily life, as ordinary people try to go about their business in the knowledge that their society has been hijacked by violent thugs and corrupt officials. Lena Esquenazi's sound design frequently causes the viewer to flinch in a bid to capture the uncertainty that has become the norm.

Miriam and Adela tell their tales with a calm assurance that can never quite disguise their distress. But there is nothing self-pitying or melodramatic about their disclosures, which acquire an aura of universality against the images of compatriots whose own lives may well have been touched by gang-related crime. Their courage is to be commended, as is that of Huezo, who has shone a light that will, hopefully, be taken up by others.