Be captivated by stories from the heavyweights of world cinema.
By
SBS Movies

19 Feb 2014 - 12:51 PM  UPDATED 4 Apr 2014 - 10:03 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!

Biutiful

A showcase for its star, Spanish actor Javier Bardem, this 2011 drama from director Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu (Babel, 21 Grams) sees Uxbal, a petty criminal in Barcelona, attempt to make amends for his life, after being told by his doctor that he is suffering from a terminal disease. Acutely observed, and unsparing in its depiction of hardscrabble immigrant life in western Europe, it’s perhaps overly generous to its protagonist – Uxbal is at times an almost saint-like figure – yet the occasionally schematic story is given real emotional weight by Bardem’s performance, as nuanced and unsentimental, as human, as any in recent cinema. (SD)
Read review


Three Colours: Blue

The first part of Krzysztof Kieslowski’s famous trilogy is a masterpiece, modern European cinema at its finest. Juliette Binoche stars as Julie de Courcy, a woman who, mourning the death of her husband and child in a car accident, tries to sever her connections with the world, only to find herself being drawn slowly, reluctantly, back to life. Ecstatic rather than mournful, and packed with moments of hushed beauty and transcendent wonder, it’s anchored by Binoche’s performance – arguably her career best – and made unforgettable by Kieslowski’s masterful direction, Slawomir Idziak’s hallucinatory cinematography, and Zbigniew Preisner’s ravishing score. (SD)


Three Colours: White

Like a scherzo between two graver, slower movements, the second instalment of the Three Colours trilogy relocates the action to Poland – director Krzysztof Kieslowski’s homeland – and switches register to black comedy, as it charts the misadventures of the hapless Karol (Zbigniew Zamachowski), recently bankrupted by his divorce from a beautiful Frenchwoman (a radiant Julie Delpy), who finds himself hired by a fellow Pole, an émigré like himself, to commit a murder... Inspired in part by Chaplin’s Little Tramp, Karol is one of modern cinema’s great creations, and his long journey to redemption is both bittersweet and utterly satisfying. (SD)


Three Colours: Red

Kieslowski’s trilogy comes to a magisterial close, with Irene Jacob starring as Valentine, a university student and part-time model who, after accidentally hitting a dog in her car, finds her life entangled with that of its owner – an mysterious retired judge (screen great Jean-Louis Trintingnant, recently seen in Michael Haneke’s Amour), who has retreated from the world to live alone in a massive house. Elegantly exploring themes of chance and predestination, faith and doubt, this was Kieslowski’s final film; tragically, he died just two years later, aged 54. Nevertheless, it represents one of the most staggering achievements in contemporary cinema. (SD)


A Girl Cut in Two

Reportedly inspired by the complex love-life (and eventual murder) of American architect Stanford White, this late-period Chabrol is as twisty and urbane as you’d imagine, with Ludivine Sagnier as a TV weathergirl who finds herself caught between two equally ardent suitors: Paul, a possibly-deranged aristocrat her own age, and Charles, a famous middle-aged novelist some decades her senior. The filmmaker skewers the various hypocrisies of the French bourgeoisie with characteristic relish, and the performances are uniformly superb. But ultimately this film serves as a valentine to its leading lady, whose ripe, unselfconscious sexuality makes these men’s shared obsession all too understandable. (SD)


Before Night Falls

Painter Julian Schnabel’s second feature (following his 1996 debut Basquiat) earned him a Grand Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival, and signalled his emergence as a major US filmmaker. Inspired by the life and letters of gay Cuban poet Reinaldo Arenas (played here, astonishingly well, by Javier Bardem), it’s a richly sensual memory-piece – whirling, kaleidoscope-like, through fragments of its subject’s hectic life, from his impoverished childhood in Oriente, through his sexual and literary coming-of-age in Havana, to his death, years later, while living in exile in New York City. Johnny Depp, meanwhile, lends strong support in dual roles. (SD)
Watch review and interview


In A Better World

Written (like seemingly every modern Danish film) by Anders Thomas Jensen, this earnest drama from director Susanne Bier won both the Golden Globe and the Academy Award for Best Foreign-Language Film in 2011. It’s essentially a melodrama, a tale of a once-loving marriage succumbing to various external pressures – yet one which touches on real-world political issues, its action shuttling (much like its doctor protagonist) between the surface placidity of a small town in Denmark, and the violent chaos of a Sudanese refugee camp. As ever, Bier extracts fine performances from her cast, charismatic star Mikael Persbrandt in particular. (SD)


Air Doll

Hideo, a lonely middle-aged waiter, shares a small Tokyo apartment with his one companion: an inflatable sex-doll he’s named Nozomi. Unbeknownst to him, however, the doll (played by the extraordinarily expressive Korean starlet Bae Du-na) has developed a soul; she soon begins wandering around the city’s streets, struck with wonder and confusion at the world she discovers. Based on a popular manga series, this wistful fantasy from Japanese great Hirokazu Koreeda at first seems broadly comic (and slightly perverse), yet soon becomes surprisingly moving: a meditation on urban alienation, and the question of what it means to be human. (SD)


Kawasaki's Rose

Don’t be deceived by the Japanese-sounding title: Kawasaki’s Rose is actually the work of Czech director Jan Hrebejk, who, together with screenwriter Petr Jarchovsky, has crafted more than a dozen smart, densely-plotted features – neither comedies nor dramas, exactly, but somewhere in between – about daily life in a country wrestling with the legacy of communism. This 2009 entry is one of their finest: in it, an elderly psychiatrist and former dissident is about to be awarded a prestigious honour by the government – but is he really as morally spotless as he seems? A sharp-eyed meditation on guilt and complicity, this consistently rejects easy answers. (SD)


Lady Jane

Best known for his social-realist dramas, this 2008 feature from Marseilles-based writer-director Robert Guédiguian sees him venture into thriller territory, as Muriel, a middle-aged shopkeeper (Ariane Ascaride, the director’s wife and regular leading lady) receives a call from kidnappers holding her teenager son. They demand a ransom; instead, she contacts two former associates (Jean-Pierre Darroussin and Gerard Meylan, also Guédiguian regulars), with whom she committed a string of bank robberies in their youth. Together, they resume the life of violence she believed she’d left behind. Tautly constructed, grittily convincing, it’s an underworld movie in the true sense of the word. (SD)


Outrage

A welcome return to form for Japanese maverick Takeshi Kitano (Hana-bi, Zatoichi), this tough-as-nails yakuza drama charts a savage feud between two rival Tokyo-based crime syndicates, whose history of mutual loathing and suspicion leaves a long trail of brutally-murdered lieutenants in its wake. Kitano himself plays Otomo, enforcer for the Sanno-kai clan, and his remote, inscrutable manner – that silent, mask-like composure, exploding without warning into displays of extreme violence – re-asserts his status as one of the great screen anti-heroes. Designed as a series of escalating set-pieces, each climaxing in a bloodbath, it’s as formally inventive as it is unrelenting. (SD)
Read review


Climates

Turkish auteur Nuri Bilge Ceylan is one of the most critically-acclaimed filmmakers working today, and this film, his fourth, makes full use of his elegant mise-en-scene, his painterly way with landscape, to chart ­– with almost forensic accuracy – the deterioration of a marriage, as a professional Istanbul couple (played by the director and his real-life wife) come apart over the course of a summer holiday in Kas, and a winter work assignment in Agri. Ruthlessly unpartisan, it’s unflinchingly honest, and intensely moving – one of the most mature depictions of married life in cinema since Ingmar Bergman’s Scenes From a Marriage. (SD)


The Man Without A Past

With his occasionally lugubrious pacing, and deadpan, rather... well, Finnish sense of humour, writer-director Aki Kaurismaki is something of an acquired taste – yet this delightful comedy-drama, nominated for an Academy Award in 2002, and a Grand Prix winner at Cannes, is sure to melt all but the most frozen of hearts. A kind of muffled film noir, about a man who must rebuild his life from scratch after an attack by hoodlums results in him losing his memory, it’s intensely romantic, beautifully composed and shot (reminiscent at times of some lost Technicolor classic), and often extremely funny. (SD)


City Of Life And Death

An assured cinematic – and partially fictionalised – depiction of 1937's The Rape of Nanking, one of the most notorious military massacres of the 20th century, City of Life and Death is a balanced and considered achievement that awes as art even as it moves as drama and horrifies as history. Chinese director Lu Chuan, whose second film Kekexili: Mountain Patrol, was backed by Japanese corporation Sony, was in a unique position to tackle the historical event which remains a lightning rod of ill-feeling between China and Japan. The film won prizes for best directing and best cinematography at the 2009 Asia Pacific Screen Awards. (RE)
Read review