Brace yourself for stories of great sacrifice, courage and the moral complexities of war. Now streaming at SBS On Demand.
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SBS Movies

21 Apr 2017 - 10:52 AM  UPDATED 21 Apr 2017 - 12:58 PM

Army of Shadows

M
France, Italy, 1969
Genre: War, Drama
Language: English, French, German
Director: Jean-Pierre Melville
Starring: Lino Ventura, Paul Meurisse, Jean-Pierre Cassel, Simone Signoret
What's it about?
If you haven't seen this classic film by director Jean-Pierre Melville (The Red Circle, The Samurai), now is your chance. This masterful adaptation of Joseph Kessel's novel gives an unflinching portrait of the men and women who fought for the French Resistance during World War II, by depicting them as flawed humans beings facing impossible moral choices, rather than just fearless heroes. Featuring a star-studded cast (including Vincent Cassel's father, Jean-Pierre), as well as a hauntingly beautiful score, Army of Shadows is simply a must-see for any cinephile.

Read more: French masterpiece 'Army of Shadows' shatters the idea of heroism in wartime

 

Persepolis

PG
France, 2007
Genre: Animation, Drama
Language: English
Director: Vincent Paronnaud, Marjane Satrapi
Starring: Catherine Deneuve, Simon Abkarian, Danielle Darrieux, Chiara Mastroianni
What's it about?
Based on Marjane Satrapi's acclaimed graphic novel, the black and white animation Persepolis recounts her experience growing up as a precocious and outspoken young Iranian girl during the Islamic Revolution. The story follows Marjane (voiced by Chiara Mastroianni) as she outsmarts the 'social guardians' and discovers punk, ABBA and Iron Maiden, while living with the terror of government persecution and the Iran/Iraq war. A powerful, eye-opening and thoroughly entertaining gem. 

Read more: Persepolis depicts a world in which the personal is always political

 

The Counterfeiters

MA15+
Austria, 2007
Genre: Drama, Crime, War
Language: German
Director: Stefan Ruzowitzky
Starring: August Diehl, Karl Markovics, Devid Striesow
What's it about?
The 2008 Foreign Language Film Oscar winner tells the story of Salomon 'Sally' Sorowitsch, an expert Jewish counterfeiter enjoying the good life until he’s sent to a concentration camp. Sally manages to survive for five years before transfer to Sachsenhausen, where he is assigned to produce perfect forgeries of British and US banknotes for the Third Reich. The Counterfeiters is both engrossing and confronting, mainly due to the complex characterisation of Sally.

The Counterfeiters review: A stunning piece of cinema
The Counterfeiters Review

 

The Round Up

MA15+
France, 2010
Genre: Drama, History
Language: French, German, Yiddish
Director: Rose Bosch
Starring: Jean Reno, Gad Elmaleh, Mélanie Laurent, Adèle Exarchopoulos
What's it about?
The mass arrest and containment of 13,000 Jews in a cycling stadium in 1942 - known as "Vel d'Hiv Roundup" - is in the news again, due to widespread backlash against the French far-right presidential candidate's denial of France's role. Rose Bosch's film makes essential viewing, for its depiction of the events through eyes of 11-year-old Joseph Weismann, a real-life victim (and rare survivor). This heartrending movie follows him, his friends and family, as they are arrested by the Gestapo and crammed in a Parisian stadium in horrific conditions, unaware the worst is still to come, and the gates of Auschwitz await them. 

The Round Up: Rose Bosch interview
The Round Up Review

 

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The Notebook

MA15+
Hungary, 2013
Genre: Drama, War
Language: German, Hungarian
Director: János Szász
Starring: András Gyémánt, László Gyémánt, Molnár Piroska
What's it about?
Based on the best-selling French-language novel 'Le Grand Cahier' by Agota Kristof, which has drawn controversy over the years due to its disturbing content, The Notebook follows two young brothers growing up during wartime with their cruel grandmother in a village on the Hungarian border. They decide to learn every trick of being evil, in order to survive in the absurd world of adults. Beautifully photographed by Michael Haneke's go-to cinematographer Christian Berger, this poignant movie captures the detrimental consequences war upon a person's psyche.

 

Flame & Citron

MA15+
Denmark, 2009
Genre: Drama, Thriller, War
Language: Danish
Director: Ole Christian Madsen
Starring: Thure Lindhardt, Mads Mikkelsen, Christian Berkel
What's it about?
This stylish noir gem, which owes a debt or two Melville's Army of Shadows, gives us a gripping portrait of the Danish resistance during WWII, carried by strong performances by Mads Mikkelsen (The Hunt) and Thure Lindhardt (Fast & Furious 6). During the Nazi occupation, Flame and Citron are assassins in the Danish resistance and target important officials of the Third Reich. However, the game changes when the pair discover that their powerful boss may be using them to settle his own personal scores. 

SBS On Demand: Mads Mikkelsen Movie Marathon

 

Winter in Wartime

M
Netherlands, 2008
Genre: Drama, History, War
Language: Dutch, German
Director: Martin Koolhoven
Starring: Martijn Lakemeier, Jamie Campbell Bower, Yorick van Wageningen
What's it about?
Adapted from a popular Dutch young adult novel by Jan Terlouw, Winter in Wartime is a compelling, beautifully shot coming-of-age story set during World War II, about a 13-year-old boy who becomes involved with the Resistance after coming to the aid of a wounded British soldier. Michiel soon has to learn about the stark difference between adventure and fantasy and the ugly realities of war.

 

Assembly

MA15+
Hong Kong, 2007
Genre: Action, Drama, History, War
Language: Mandarin
Director: Feng Xiaogang
Starring: Hanyu Zhang, Chao Deng, Wenkang Yuan
What's it about?
Feng Xiaogang's impressive story of heroism and sacrifice is often described as the Chinese counterpart of Saving Private Ryan. Assembly follows Gu zidi (Hanyu Zhang), a Communist army captain, who is sent with his 47 men on a mission to defend a coal mine. However, his men are massacred and after waking in hospital, Gu zidi discovers his soldiers are considered MIA. The captain spends the rest of his life trying to gain recognition for his fallen soldiers.

 

Lebanon

MA15+
UK, 2009
Genre: Drama, War
Language: Hebrew, Arabic, French
Director: Samuel Maoz
Starring: Yoav Donat, Itay Tiran, Oshri Cohen
What's it about?
This brilliant drama, set almost entirely within the confines of a tank, is every bit as brutal and shocking as The Hurt Locker. Set in 1982, during the First Lebanon War, the action follows a lone tank and a paratrooper platoon dispatched to search a hostile town – a simple mission that turns into a nightmare. The four members of a tank crew are sitting ducks, stuck in a violent situation that they cannot contain. Motivated by fear and the basic instinct of survival, they desperately try not to lose themselves in the chaos of war. 

Lebanon Review

 

Max Manus

M
Norway, 2008
Genre: Drama, History, War
Language: Norwegian
Director: Joachim Rønning, Espen Sandberg
Starring: Aksel Hennie, Agnes Kittelsen, Nicolai Cleve Broch
What's it about?
This biopic of a renowned Norwegian WWII resistance fighter by the directors of Kon Tiki and the next Pirates of the Caribbean was a massive box-office hit in its home territory, its Oslo premiere attended by no less than the King of Norway himself. When Norway is invaded by Germany, young saboteur Max Manus (played by Headhunters star Aksel Hennie) returns home to help in the fight against the occupation. But as the war drags on and his colleagues die around him, Max's greatest battle is with his own inner demons. 

 

In the mood for more binging? Try this 8-part Danish series:

1864: Denmark's War

MA15+
Denmarl, 2014
Genre: Drama, History, War
Language: Danish
Creator: Ole Bornedal
Starring: Pilou Asbæk, Sarah-Sofie Boussnina, Bent Mejding, Søren Malling, Sidse Babett Knudsen
What's it about?
Featuring Denmark's biggest stars, such as Pilou Asbæk, Sidse Babett Knudsen, Søren Malling... (Borgen fans are in for a treat as most of its cast stars in it), this epic period drama remains one of the most expensive series ever produced in Denmark – and it certainly shows in the lavish sets, costumes and cinematography. Set in 1851, when Prussia and Austria declared war on Denmark, it follows two brothers who are called to serve in the bloodiest battle in their country's history. A real treat.

Watch our SBS staff pick video on '1864: Denmark's War'
Explore the entire 'Nordic Noir' collection at SBS On Demand

 

Explore the entire War Movie collection at SBS On Demand

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