Test your limits with provocative tales from the dark side. These are bold and uncompromising works from filmmakers who aren't afraid to tell it like it is.
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SBS Movies

19 Feb 2014 - 12:48 PM  UPDATED 24 Feb 2015 - 10:26 AM

The Film Festival of 100 Clicks is over, but you can continue to enjoy a range of SBS movies at a time that suits you. Click here to browse the full range of feature films that are currently available to watch online, powered by SBS On Demand.

 

Find out more about the films in this collection, and click on the link to watch one right now. Don’t forget to rate each of the films you watch, to go in the draw to win a World Movies Secret Cinema experience. The more you watch, the greater your chances of winning!

Pusher

Nicholas Winding Refn’s 1996 debut Pusher is an exercise in stylish ultra-realism set amidst the drug trade bit-players working Copenhagen’s dark streets. Frank (a riveting Kim Bodnia) loses control of his most ambitious trafficking scheme yet; Balkan heavyweight Milo (Zlatki Buric) is flexing his muscle, threatening to take a pound of flesh for each kilo owed to him. Further adding to Frank’s woes are his dimwitted skinhead mate Tony (Mads Mikkelsen), and a drug unit sting that is gaining momentum. The first instalment in Refn’s celebrated trilogy, Pusher boasts an assaultive aesthetic (thrash-metal music score; skin-splitting violence; raw, desperate emotion) that makes for gruelling, compelling cinema. (SF)


The Disappearance of Alice Creed

Few directorial debuts announce themselves with such bravado as J Blakeson’s The Disappearance of Alice Creed. The young Brit cuts together a dazzling, dialogue-free first 10 minutes, during which kidnappers Vic (Eddie Marsan) and Danny (Martin Compston) prepare for the abduction of heiress Alice (Gemma Arterton). Once the deed is done, Blakeson’s film turns to the cruel cat/mouse psychology of the captive/captor relationship. Alice is far from the meek ‘daddy’s daughter’ they expected, and her survival instincts kick in. Marsan is a vile, effective villain; Arterton, in her calling card film, gives a fearless physical performance. To the last gasp ending, Blakeson’s adrenalised 2009 thriller (oddly, his only film to date) is a white-knuckle blast. (SF)
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Mammoth

After the success of his intimate dramatic works Together (2000), Lilya 4-Ever (2002) and A Hole in My Heart (2004), Swedish auteur Lukas Moodysson gravitated towards the universal human experience with 2009’s Mammoth. The intertwined lives of an American couple (Gael Garcia Bernal, Michelle Williams), their Filipino nanny (Marife Necesito) and a Thai sex worker (Run Srinikornchot) are plotted darkly and densely in Moodysson’s profoundly moving study of family dynamics and the heartache of parenting. The title references an artefact central to the film, made from the ivory of a frozen prehistoric elephant; it is also the Tagalog word for ‘mother’. (SF)


Welcome Home

Director Jean-Xavier de Lestrade won a 2001 Academy Award for his documentary feature Murder on a Sunday Morning and he applies a factual filmmaker’s clarity to his similarly-themed 2008 narrative debut, Welcome Home. Returning to his home town after 13 years in prison, convicted murderer Julien (Robinson Stévenin) is eager to put the past behind him and rebuild his life. A chance encounter with a woman called Emilie (a heartbreaking performance from Fanny Valette) brings the shocking events of the past to the present for both. The themes of guilt, redemption and forgiveness are explored in Lestrade’s taut, existential study of the scars left by acts of violence. (SF)


Day And Night

Idiosyncratic Danish auteur Simon Staho’s minimalist 2004 masterpiece Day and Night is raw, poetic and brutally forthright. Swedish star Mikael Persbrandt plays Thomas, a middle-class nobody who spends his final 12 hours extinguishing the smouldering embers of his meaningless life. The unfaithful wife, the deceitful best friend, the distracted mistress, the ambivalent teenage son, the dying mother – all bear the brunt of a desperate man with nothing to lose. And what spiritual path does the mysterious old man offer? Staho shoots the entire film with two cameras from within his protagonist’s car; the result is a story of careening momentum about a life grinding to a halt. (SF)


Chaos

With the blockbuster 1985 comedy Three Men and a Cradle to her name, writer/director Coline Serreau could have coasted through the calm waters of populist cinema until retirement. But by 2004, the Parisian auteur had more to say; in her vibrant black comedy/thriller Chaos, she examines gender politics, racial tension, feminist agendas and good ol’ retribution, all with caustic wit. When sleepy middle-class drones Helene (Catherine Frot) and Paul (Vincent Lindon) witness a pimp beating one of his working girls on the hood of their car, they do nothing; their first thought is to find a car wash. But Helene has pangs of guilt and seeks out the prostitute, Noemie (Rachida Brakni, in her Cesar award winning role); the two women and the men in their lives become entangled in a fierce, original work. (SF)


Let The Right One In

Tomas Alfredson’s perfectly constructed, elegant 2008 adaptation of John Ajvide Lindqvist’s romantic horror tale remains a work of aching beauty and jarring horror. Just like it’s central vampiric character – Lina Leandersson’s undead tween-ager Eli – it has aged beautifully and also not at all; the isolated existence of 12 year-old Oskar (Kare Hedebrandt) is as poignant as ever. A lonely, hungry pairing carved from the frigid landscape of a country gripped by cold and darkness, Oskar and Eli find life-giving co-dependence in each other. Or is their new bond a frightening starting point for two natural born killers? Alfredson and Lindqvist find deep beauty and complex horror in every frame.  (SF)
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Anna M

Director Michael Spinosa’s clearest reference point is Francois Truffaut’s iconic 1975 film The Story of Adele H, the great director’s haunting account of pathological desire and the spiral of self-destruction. In this 2007 reworking, Isabelle Carré is the titular anti-heroine, an introvert with an obsessive belief that her psychologist, Dr Zanevsky (Gilbert Melki), desires her passionately (the clinical term is erotomania). Anna’s spying and stalking of the doctor escalates into a series of increasingly terrifying criminal acts, over which she has no self-control. The Cesar-nominated Carré exudes the chilly beauty and mysterious edginess of the great ‘Hitchcock blondes’. (SF)


Go With Peace, Jamil

Copenhagen's Arab Diaspora is painted as a seething battlefield of machismo, family feuds and reciprocal violence in Omar Shargawi’s oppressive urban thriller, Go With Peace, Jamil. The centuries-old Sunni/Shiite conflict comes to bear on Jamil (Dar Salim) as he avenges the death of his mother. Aware that further escalation of violence will be swift, Jamil looks to his remaining family for support before he flees the city. Debutant director Shargawi (who has a small role as Jamil’s friend, Omar) has both the eye of a consummate artist and the craft of a skilled technician; his handling of a hot-button issue within the mechanics of a cracking thriller is sublime. (SF)


Revanche

Some great B-movie archetypes exist in Gotz Spielmann’s slow burn thriller: Irena Potapenko’s Tamara is the hooker hoping dreaming of a better life; Johannes Krisch’s Alex is the ex-con bouncer who loves Tamara and wants to help her with her dream. When their planned ‘big payday’ bank robbery goes wrong, they lay low at the rural home of Alex’s grandfather (the wonderful Hannes Thanheiser). Spielmann becomes less interested in the gears of his plot than he is in the complex interactions of his key characters. The baggage of their past lives is never far from Alex and Tamara’s new reality, and their idyllic getaway is riddled with underlying tension. As the late Roger Ebert points out in his glowing review, “the film is peculiarly effective [because] it’s about their lives, not their dilemmas.” The Academy was also suitably impressed by Revanche to give it a 2009 Foreign Film Oscar nomination. (SF)


Tony Manero

It’s 1978, and Saturday Night Fever is still in Chilean cinemas, exemplifying the US influence (read, CIA involvement) over the population. Raul (Alfredo Castro) is a nobody, going nowhere, who really, really loves the John Travolta disco-era classic. He loves it with such murderous desperation, that he enters a TV talent show and will stop at nothing to get the chance to dance in character as Tony Manero. The at times brutally black humour of Pablo Larrain’s offbeat psycho-thriller character study makes for an uncomfortably engaging, retro-themed oddity; you’ll laugh, perhaps in spite of yourself, and you’ll cringe at Castro’s masterful grasp of Machiavellian self-interest. (SF)


The Night of the Sunflowers

One of European cinemas most assured directorial debuts in recent years; Jorge Sanchez-Cabezu’s Night of the Sunflowers (aka Angosto) is a convoluted but captivating multi-layered rural mystery. Six different characters’ perspectives tell a tale of murder, rape, superstition and the ever-present memory of civil war: A killer flees trough a field of sunflowers; a travelling salesman (Manuel Moron) assaults a beautiful woman (Judith Diakhate); a cave surveyor (Carmelo Gomez) explores the inky blackness that sits beneath the township; and the local policeman (Vicente Romero) investigates a series of violent attacks just to escape his staid existence. The ensemble of fine actors and the slightly surreal, Twin Peaks-like atmospherics make for a disturbing film experience. (SF)


Evil

The cyclical nature of violence is explored against the privileged world of 1950s private school hazing and hierarchies in Mikael Hafstrom’s appropriately-titled Evil. When we meet Erik (an enigmatic Andreas Wilson), he is the perpetrator, leading a bloody assault against a junior pupil. Transferred to the more upmarket but no less cruel private school Stjarnsberg, Erik becomes the target. Hafstrom, who has gone on to establish a solid Hollywood resume (Derailed; 1408; Escape Plan), paints violence as an all-consuming social ill. Whether taking a beating from the skeletal upper class students who target him or the terrifying working class stepfather (Johan Rabaeus) who brutalises him, Erik’s pain and seething resentment is palpable. (SF)


State of Violence

Writer/director Khalo Matabane’s South African/French/Belgian co-production left audiences deeply reflective after prestigious festival slots at Toronto, Korea and Berlin, to name a few. Having forged a new life out of violent, downtrodden beginnings, corporate highflyer Bobedi (Fana Mokoena) watches his wife gunned down in what appears to be a random street crime. With the police disinterested, the distraught man throws himself back into life on the streets and, with his brother Boy-Boy (Presley Chweneyagae), retraces his personal history to find a connection to the killer. Revenge, memory, birth right and ongoing class warfare are all tackled in State of Violence, a poignant and disturbing allegory for the social ills afflicting South Africa to this day. (SF)


Echo

The sense of foreboding that Danish director Anders Morgenthaler creates in his father/son abduction thriller Echo is truly stomach-tightening. The third act of this gripping film spins the brooding if gently paced narrative into truly horrific territory. Kim Bodnia plays Simon, a policeman who’s about to lose joint custody of his son, Louie (Villads Milthers Fritsche). Slyly, he kidnaps the boy and heads to an isolated farmhouse, where the dread of losing his son forever and the memory of his own turbulent past begins to unravel his already fragile mental capacity. Morgenthaler rocked the establishment with his 2006 ultra-violent animated feature, Princess; he steps to the brink of mad genius once again with Echo. (SF)


Or

On the streets of Tel Aviv, ageing prostitute Ruthie (Ronit Elkabetz) struggles to give up her working-girl persona, despite her daughter, Or (Dana Ivgy)’s urging her to find a new job. Or has assumed the position of responsibility in their home; she works, meets resistance in her own love life and is gradually being swept up in her mother’s declining mental health. Director Keren Yedaya’s barebones examination of the dehumanising impact of the street level sex trade is a tough, coarse film that finds its heart in Ivgy’s tender, determined title character. The actress won Best Actress honours at the 2004 Israeli Film Academy ceremony; her film took the Critic’s Week Grand Prize at that year’s Cannes Film Festival. (SF)


Heartbeat Detector

Director Nicholas Klotz applies a brooding aesthetic and global perspective to this dramatic thriller (based on on Belgian author Francois Emmanuel’s novel), that draws a clear lineage between mid-century Nazism and the construction of the economic free world. Mathieu Almaric is a corporate psychologist tasked with sorting out the issues that are messing with the head of an erratic CEO (Michael Lonsdale); as the patient’s words take on broader meaning, Almaric becomes privy to information that redefines the ethics of modern business. When it debuted in 2007, Klotz’s film was a conspiracy theorist’s paranoid fantasy; in 2014, it seems all too plausible.