With her 2006 debut Red Road, British director Andrea Arnold won widespread plaudits and the Jury Prize at Cannes. A tough act to follow, you might think, but Arnold repeated the award-winning trick with last year’s Fish Tank. This slice of life from an Essex council estate follows stroppy 15-year-old Mia as she struggles with her social worker, her little sister, her mum, and her mum’s new boyfriend (Michael Fassbender). The film hinges on a stunning central performance from newcomer Katie Jarvis as Mia, never shying away from a conflict but constantly hoping and striving for something better just around the corner. Arnold is to be applauded for turning the spotlight onto a part of British society derided by many and ignored by the rest, understanding but never patronising Mia.