Jazz things up with this collection of acclaimed movies from all over the world.
SBS Movies

16 Oct 2014 - 5:22 PM  UPDATED 10 Mar 2015 - 3:49 PM

Herbie Hancock

A chronicle of the production of Herbie Hancock's 2005 album Possibilities, in which the jazz icon collaborates with a variety of musicians (Christina Aguilera, Sting, Brian Eno, Annie Lennox, Angélique Kidjo, John Mayer etc.). It also gives an insight into Hancock's life, with archival footage including rare shots of the Miles Davis Quintet.

Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll

A 2010 biographical comedy film about English new wave musician Ian Dury, from his childhood plagued by bullying and during which he contracted polio, to his rise to fame with the band The Blockheads and his continuing personal battle with the disability. Nominated for a British Academy Film Award. 


A documentary about the rise and fall of former New York City club owner Peter Gatien, through the 1980s and '90s, featuring interviews with numerous people involved in the clubbing scene at the time, including musician Moby. After reigning on a clubbing empire throughout the 80's and early 90's, Peter Gatien was deported to Canada, following years of legal battles and police pressure spearheaded by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. 

As It Is In Heaven

This Swedish box office hit, which was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2005 Academy Awards, was particularly embraced by the Australian audience and was shown at The Hayden Orpheum in Cremorne for 103 weeks, making it one of the longest running films in Australian history. It follows a successful international conductor, who suddenly interrupts his career after suffering a heart attack on stage and returns to his childhood village in the far north of Sweden. He is asked to listen to the fragment of a church choir in the parish hall - just to give some advice. From that moment nothing in the village is the same again. The choir develops and grows, and the conductor makes both friends and enemies and finds love.


Helena Christensen stars in this film about famous pianist Zetterstrom who returns home to his native Denmark, to give a gala concert, just to find out that the choices he has made in his life have affected his love life greatly. Zetterstrom, in his quest for perfection has repressed his emotions, but his return to Copenhagen reawakens the memories of his past. His last visit had been the setting for a tragic love affair with Andrea, and now he begins to have visions of her. His past appears trapped in the Zone - an impermeable transparent shell that has been caused by a bizarre catastrophe. It is here that Zetterstrøm's identity and memories are hidden.


In this French movie by director Emmanuelle Bercot (Polisse), an adolescent groupie (Isild Le Besco) zeroes in on her Blondie-like idol (Emmanuelle Seigner) after a chance encounter. Gradually and intensely, their lives intertwine as they develop an emotional dependency.

If You Love Me, Follow Me

Max (Mathieu Demy) is a seemingly happy 35-year-old with a successful career, a beautiful wife and proud parents. One day Max wakes up to the realisation that his life isn’t exactly as he’d planned, so he decides to leave it all behind to live out his teenage dream of being in a rock band. Despite his strong desire to shake off his bourgeois lifestyle, Max realises that fulfilling his dream at this point in his life is harder than he had imagined. 

The Beat That My Heart Skipped

In this adrenaline-fuelled drama directed by Jacques Audiard (A Prophet, Rust and Bone), Tom (Romain Duris) works as a real estate debt collector for his father Robert (Niels Arestrup). The work involves violence and he hates the life, wishing he could be more like his late mother, who was a concert pianist. When offered a piano audition, he starts to practise again, and is coached by a beautiful Chinese teacher Miao Lin (Linh Dan Pham), who doesn't speak a word of French. Just when Tom's life seems to be turning around, Robert asks him for one last sordid favour, that involves the Russian Mafia.

Chicken With Plums

In this movie, directed by Iranian-born and France-baesd Marjane Satrapi (Persepolis) and Vincent Paronnaud, and adapted from Satrapi's graphic novel, a famous Iranian musician, Nasser Ali (Mathieu Amalric) loses the taste to live when his beloved violin is destroyed and decides to let himself die. While he waits for death lying on his bed, his mind travels back in various times of his life and he finds himself fantasising about what could have been.

The Concert

A former acclaimed Russian conductor (Aleksei Guskov), demoted to cleaner during the Soviet era, comically schemes to book himself and his former musicians into a prestigious Parisian booking after he intercepts an offer of a show. Making ends meet by unexpected means, they arrive in Paris only to fall into disarray, even as the young French violin soloist (Mélanie Laurent) who has agreed to play with them begins to realise her connection to their collective past.

Velvet Goldmine

Director Todd Haynes (Far From Heaven, I'm Not There) gives us an insight into the UK '70s glam-rock scene by following British journalist Arthur Stuart (Christian Bale) on an investigation about the rise and fall of his childhood hero, pop superstar Brian Slade (Jonathan Rhys Meyers). Also stars Ewan McGregor as rebellious American singer Curt Wild, and Toni Collette as Slade's wife Mandy.

The Singer

Alain Moreau (Gérard Depardieu) is a singer who has been playing the provincial dance hall circuit for many years, with his ex-wife managing his career. One night, he meets Marion (Cécile De France), a young, attractive but troubled woman, trying to rebuild her life with her son, after a failed marriage. Marion soon regrets their fling but Alain has fallen for her charms. In trying to win back her affection, they soon realise how much they are alike. 

Four Minutes

An elderly piano teacher, Traude (Monica Bleibtreu), takes on an immensely gifted but troubled student at the women's prison where she has taught since the Second World War. The student, Jenny (Hannah Herzsprung), is a violent sociopath who initially resists the 80-year-old's help but soon realises their union could help her reach her potential.


Written and directed by Joan Sfar, this movie is based on the remarkable life of iconic French singer, poet, writer and actor Serge Gainsbourg. Joann Sfar draws from his drawing background to lend a surreal touch to the movie, which covers Gainsbourg's youth growing up in 1940s Nazi-occupied Paris, when he was called Lucien Ginsberg, through to his transformation into the hard-living showman, enfant terrible and successful song-writer of the '50s and '60s (famous for his glamorous lovers including Brigitte Bardot and Jane Birkin), to his notoriety in the '70s and '80s. We glimpse the fantasy world that drove his inspiration, the women he loved and lost and most of all, the music that made him a legend.

Get Ready To Be Boyvoiced

In the spirit of This Is Spinal Tap, this Norwegian mockumentary follows the trials and tribulations of boy-band Boyzvoice, their fans and management over a period of six months. Boyszvoice is a trio of mediocre singers led by "M*Pete". The three brothers are living the dream, complete with (very) young groupies, until one day, as they are performing to promote the release of their first album, a technical glitch occurs in the middle of a song, which reveals that the trio had been lip-synching all along. The public is outraged, the boy-band is dropped from their record company, and their music careers are as good as over. But their manager doesn’t give up on them, finds a sponsorship deal with a fish finger manufacturer, and things start to look up again for the hapless singers.


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