Be transported by this unique collection of films from around the world. Each of the stories are as diverse as the regions they represent.
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SBS Movies

19 Feb 2014 - 12:41 PM  UPDATED 24 Feb 2015 - 10:26 AM

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!

Eyes Wide Open

In Haim Tabakman’s simmering, still debut, a middle-aged butcher in an ultra-Orthodox community in Jerusalem struggles with questions of faith, commitment and desire. Aaron (Zohar Strauss) is a married father of four who is respected in his community as a righteous man, one dedicated to work, prayer and family. But when he takes on Ezri (Ran Danker) as an apprentice, the physical attraction between them slowly builds from the unspoken to the actual, as the film carefully depicts the enclosed world the pair both live in and risk expulsion from. The filmmaker doesn’t take sides or pass judgment, allowing for an immersive experience. (CM)


Kinyarwanda

The genocidal violence unleashed in Rwanda in 1994 between the Hutu and Tutsis ethnic groups left more than 800,000 people dead, and artists have subsequently tried to come to terms with such immense loss and barbarity. Jamaican filmmaker Alrick Brown uses six stories to provide differing perspectives; some distant, others intensely close. Filming on location in Rwanda, he depicts Muslim clerics debating how to help the often hunted Tutsis, or the plight of a young woman (Hadidja Zaninka) who sneaks out of her house to go to a party and returns to find her family dead. It’s a world struggling to make sense of the unthinkable. (CM)


The Yacoubian Building

Egyptian director Marwan Hamed managed to encapsulate many of the contradictions that marked his homeland in his debut, with Wahid Hamid’s adaptation of Alaa’ Al-Aswany’s novel using a luxury Cairo apartment building, built in the 1920s but now fading, as a microcosm for the country’s complex and interwoven political and social strata. Whether it’s a hypocritical business tycoon (Nour El Sherif) who espouses piety but uses corruption, or one of the servants living on the roof (Hind Sabry), whose boyfriend is being drawn towards extremism, this acclaimed epic shows how the country’s concerns permeate every level of the building, and thus Egyptian life. (CM)


Reconstruction

A Camera d’Or winner at the Cannes International Film Festival in 2003, Reconstruction is a psychological love story that begins with Alex (Nikolaj Lie Kaas) being drawn away from his girlfriend Simone (Maria Bonnevie) to instinctively pursue Aimee (also Bonnevie, looking somewhat different). If the women are two sides to the same coin, an assignation with the latter upends Alex’s world: Simone no longer remembers him, his friends are blank, and he has no home. With a deliberately literary narration and Copenhagen looking like a world of hidden possibilities, the ideas thankfully outweigh the practicalities in a film where love is the greatest mystery. (CM)


Worlds Apart

The division described by the title of this finely observed drama is between the new boyfriend (Pilou Asbaek) of Sara (Rosalinde Mynster) and the Jehovah’s Witness community she has been raised in. Based on a true story, Niels Arden Oplev’s Danish drama examines how faith can be both a means of security and an impingement, as the elders in Sara’s community try to persuade and discipline her even as her own family struggles with her father’s infidelity. Sara has love for both sides, but she is forced to choose and the movie shows the dislocating pain of losing something you value. (CM)


Noodle

In Noodle the wonderful Israeli actress Mili Avital plays Miri, a widowed air hostess whose passion for life, understandably dimmed, finds an unlikely new purpose in the form of a six-year-old Chinese boy (BaoQi Chen) who is briefly left in her apartment one day by his migrant worker mother, Miri’s cleaner, but never collected. The unnamed boy – called Noodle because of his eating preference – awakens something in Miri, who is otherwise a spectator to the decaying marriage of her sister Gila (Anat Waxman), who lives next door. It’s a serious comedy, funny but aware much is at stake. (CM)
Read Noodle review


To Take A Wife

Written and directed by the Israeli husband and wife pairing, Ronit and Shlomi Elkabetz, To Take a Wife debuted at the Venice Film Festival in 2004, with the former in the lead role of Viviane, who in the staid surrounds of 1979 Haifa feels confined by the demands of work and family as she tries to work as a hairdresser, respect social traditions, and deal with her husband’s extended family, who swamp her life. Unease is a powerful feeling in the hands of Ronit Elkabetz (The Band’s Visit), and here it comes to depict a family that is on the verge of fracturing. (CM)


Amal

Nominated for six Genie’s at Canada’s annual film awards, this effective melodrama sketches the world of Amal (Rupinder Nagra) a rickshaw operator in the bustling Indian capital of New Delhi who treats his customers and those he encounters with respect and care. His actions are tested when he chases a street urchin who snatched the purse of a passenger, only for the little girl, Priya (Tanisha Chatterjee), to be struck by a vehicle. Amal’s meagre financial foothold is weakened, but his dignity doesn’t crumble, and the conventional ending for Richie Mehta’s picture is emotionally well earnt. (CM)


The Necessities of Life

In Benoir Pilon’s thoughtful, low-key drama, Tivii (Natar Ungalaaq), an Inuit tribesman whose persistent cough is a harbinger of Tuberculosis, is sent for treatment and hopefully recovery in Quebec City; in a matter of days he goes from a traditional life to a 1952 hospital ward. “Can your machine tell if I will die?” he asks a hospital staffer, and the film has the same matter-of-fact tone when it comes to isolation, as Tivii succumbs to loneliness as much as illness. The film avoids the mawkish, finding a genuine bond between the exile and Kaki (Paul-Andre Brasseur), a young Inuit orphan he helps, which aids both of them. (CM)


Something Like Happiness

Everyday struggle and the bonds of affection and community are detailed in a sparse but telling fashion in Bohdan Slama’s drama about life in a working-class apartment building in an unremarkable contemporary Czech city. The central trio are all in flux: Monika (Tatiana Vilhelmova) doesn’t know whether to follow her boyfriend to America, Tonik (Pavel Liska) doesn’t know how to tell Monika he loves her, and the erratic Dasha (Anna Geislerova) doesn’t know how to care for her young sons. Social realism is mixed with tender observation, so that difficult lives unfold with pathos and hard-won humour. (CM)


Love And Other Crimes

In a grim and grey Belgrade, where unfairness is engrained even for those who believe they got what they wanted, Anica (Anica Dobra) plans to pilfer the cash hoardings of her gangster boyfriend, Milutin (Fedja Kostic) and flee as far away as possible, but she’s stopped in her tracks by a sudden profession of love for her by Stanislav (Vuk Kostic), Milutin’s young associate. Spanning just a few days, Stefan Arsenijevic’s film depicts his homeland with harshness but has a balanced stance for his protagonists – they’re each just trying to make the best of a bad situation. (CM)


Carnage

Delphine Gleize sketches a series of oblique encounters that are gorgeously composed and photographed in Carnage, a depiction of Mediterranean Europe that links the lives of men and women in Spain, France and Italy via the widely distributed parts of a bull’s body that has been butchered after it gored a toreador at a bullfight: the eyeballs go to a veterinary researcher, a family’s dog gets a bone, and so on. Some parts are linked, others are not, but Gleize doesn’t want to sum up the world; she makes arresting observations of her diverse protagonists, treating each like they’re the star of their own movie. (CM)


Medianeras

Mariana (Pilar Lopez de Ayala) and Martin (Javier Drolas) live opposite each other in Buenos Aires apartment buildings. In Gustavo Tarretto’s quirky, fascinating romantic-comedy they’re divided by urban alienation far wider than the street they reside on, two potential soulmates who can perhaps sense each other but not make the connection. Respectively an architect recovering from a breakdown and a reclusive website designer, the two share echoing epiphanies (thanks to Woody Allen) and comic encounters with the lurking outside world in a film that seamlessly combine other forms of media, such as animation, to charmingly illustrate their unknown need for each other. (CM)


Aballay

In Fernando Spiner’s gaucho western, a gang holds up a stagecoach and one of the outlaws, Aballay (Pablo Cedron) calmly slits a man’s throat, leaving him to die in front of his horrified young son. The callous act changes the Argentinean cowboy, but by the time he has renounced his past and become a pillar of his community the child is a grown man, Julien (Nazareno Carezo), intent on taking a life in revenge. The film recalls late-era westerns such as those made by Sam Peckinpah, where violence hangs over everything, although it is Juana (Mariana Anghileri) who has the best chance of getting Julien to walk away from his chosen path. (CM)


Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past lives

A winner of the Palme d’Or, the prestigious top honour, at the Cannes International Film Festival in 2010, Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s meditative drama gentle combines this world and the next, as a Thai mountain farmer, Boonmee (Thanapat Saisaymar), who will soon die from kidney disease makes preparation for his departure that include conversations with the many ghosts that visit him. Mistakes from his past and lost companions, including an absent son who returns as a very large monkey, combine in a film where time has no boundaries and the result is not scarily supernatural but tenderly revealing and bordering on the sublime. (CM)


A Man's Fear of God

In Ozer Kiziltan’s story of faith tested, Muharrem (Erkan Can) is a pious Muslim sack maker in Istanbul who dedicates his life to work and religious worship. His devotion and honesty is such that the Sheik who leads his house of worship employs him to oversee the mosque’s properties. Muharrem is given a car and a driver, a mobile phone and authority, and the strength of his beliefs are undermined by difficult decisions and the previously unknown whisper of temptation. The more important he becomes, the more troubled he is, and this telling moving speaks to how we make compromises in life that can’t possibly last. (CM)