• Abbie Cornish and Sam Worthington in 'Somersault', now available at SBS On Demand. (SBS Movies)Source: SBS Movies
Can't make it to the Melbourne International Film Festival this year? Relive past nightlights in this special SBS On Demand collection curated by festival organisers.
By
SBS Movies, Presented by
Melbourne International Film Festival

15 Mar 2016 - 10:01 AM  UPDATED 1 Aug 2016 - 11:45 AM

Click on the image to start viewing each film at SBS On Demand

 

Somersault

(MIFF 2004)

Cate Shortland's multi-award winning feature debut is an evocative story of a teen's sexual awakening. Abbie Cornish broke through in her performance of Heidi, a self-assured 16 year-old who has little choice but to leave home after being caught in a compromising situation with her mother's boyfriend. She ends up in the regional NSW town of Jindabyne, where she falls for local boy Joe (Sam Worthington), and tries to establish a normal life, out on her own. 

Watch The Movie Show reviews 'Somersault'

Watch interviews with director Cate Shortland and producer Jan Chapman

Marwencol

(MIFF 2010)

“It just gets weirder and weirder.” - Mark Hogancamp

After a vicious bashing left him brain damaged and broke, Mark Hogancamp sought recovery in ‘Marwencol' - a 1/6th-scale World War II-era town he created in his backyard.

Barbie dolls, G.I. Joes and model army figures represent the ‘characters' in his life as he participates in his own ‘homebrand' therapy through the town's many battles and dramas. When his photographs of Marwencol are discovered by a New York gallery, Mark must choose between the refuge of his fantasy world and the one he's avoided since the attack.

Winner of the 2010 SXSW Competition Award.

 

Pusher

(MIFF 2006)

A furious, hyper-realistic window into the very bottom of the Copenhagen underworld, the blockbuster hit Pusher, the debut feature from its 25-year-old director Nicolas Winding Refn, was instrumental in putting Danish cinema back on the international map post-Dogma.

It tells the story of Frank (Kim Bodia), a grunting, down-on-his-luck pusher who defaults on a major deal after his dim-witted friend Tonny (Mads Mikkelsen) turns him into the cops. The consequences prove to be dire.

Propulsive, kinetic and constantly threatening to spiral out of control, this film is tough-minded and sharp, satirising the twisted conservatism of its criminal denizens. “It doesn't pause for pop-cult free associations, art-directed trippiness, or smirking wisecracks… When a shotgun goes off in someone's face, it's decidedly not a punch line.” - Village Voice

 

[REC]

(MIFF 2007)

“While most cinematic genres are languishing, the horror movie is alive and well and holidaying in the Spanish sun.” - Guardian

The shaky camera trend of horror that began with The Blair Witch Project and continued through to the likes of Diary of the Dead adds volumes to the one-location claustrophobia of this Spanish ‘frightmare' courtesy of Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza. 

Seen through (the unseen) cameraman's lens, we follow an ambitious reporter making a reality TV show who shadows some firemen called to an emergency at an apartment block. There to greet them is more than an elderly woman trapped in an apartment - the block has been infected with a flesh-eating disease that has turned its residents into ravenous zombies. 

 

The White Ribbon

(MIFF 2009)

Winner of the Palme d'Or at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival.

From the unerring hand of Michael Haneke (Funny Games, MIFF 08; Hidden, MIFF 05; The Time of the Wolf, MIFF 03) comes a tautly constructed whodunit in The White Ribbon, a period piece set on the eve of World War I in a staunchly Protestant village in northern Germany.

The village is plagued by a series of mysterious accidents - the doctor tumbles from his horse, a farmer's wife falls to her death from a barn loft - which become increasingly more sinister and brutal. Neighbour turns against neighbour, even as the cruelty pervading the village breeds fresh atrocities.

“Through an entertaining, well-crafted story, Haneke confronts the key moral questions of our time.” - SBS Movies 

The White Ribbon review: Another mesmerising turn from the Minister of Fear

 

Tomboy

(MIFF 2011)

Winner of Best Queer Film 2011 Berlin International Film Festival.

After relocating to a new neighbourhood, ten-year-old Laure decides to trade on her androgynous looks to pose as a boy. While initially revelling in her new identity, things get complicated when a local girl named Lisa becomes desperately infatuated with the boy she thinks is 'Michael'.

A gentle, humorously played film about the exploration of gender identity in one's tweens, Tomboy once again proves the singular talent writer-director Céline Sciamma (Water Lilies, Girlhood) has for coaxing impressive performances out of young, inexperienced actors. Quietly subversive yet never preachy, Tomboy is a sweet and assured movie about growing up, the glimmerings of adolescence and how exactly a girl should fill out a pair of Speedos.

 

Tony Manero

(MIFF 2009)

“A magnificently deranged study of overboard pop-culture fandom.” - Slant Magazine

Set during Chile's darkest days under the Pinochet regime, Tony Manero follows a Saturday Night Fever-crazed loner, whose life ambition is to emulate John Travolta's disco character. His pathological quest to imitate his fictional hero leads him to commit increasingly brutal acts, eliminating anything and anyone that gets in his way.

A captivatingly grotesque profile of obsession set against the backdrop of life under Pinochet's totalitarian rule, Tony Manero premiered at the Directors' Fortnight at Cannes in 2008.

“A suggestive commentary on the way that societies retreat into fantasy and denial in times of repression.” - Screen International

 

Appropriate Behaviour

(MIFF 2014)

"At her most exciting Akhavan is able to reveal the depths of her characters through not canny dialogue but behaviour" – SBS Movies 

Shirin storms out of the apartment of her girlfriend Maxine after a breakup, and proceeds to look back through her history of failed relationships. She moves in with pretentious artists, gets a job teaching filmmaking to five-year-olds, and employs a series of ill-advised schemes in an effort to win back Maxine.

Writer/director Desiree Akhavan, best known for her cult web series The Slope, stars in this story of a bisexual Iranian-American woman trying to find her way in modern-day Brooklyn. Appropriate Behavior is an intelligent, engaging comedy that heralds an exciting new voice in indie cinema (with Akhavan seen in season four of Lena Dunham's Girls).

Appropriate Behaviour review: Quirky indie gives Persian perspective on Brooklyn
Desiree Akhavan on 'Appropriate Behaviour' in sex scenes (interview)

 

Words from the City

(MIFF 2007)

“Australians all let us recoil, for we have no idea. We go to war for wealth and oil, our home is girt by fear.” - TZU

Words from the City explores the evolving Australian hip hop scene through intimate observations by some of the nation's most progressive and compelling artists, including the Hilltop Hoods, Downsyde, Koolism, Bliss n Eso, MC Trey, TZU and Wire. 

Across one long, hot summer, we follow these MCs as they step into a verbal battleground to express their personal, political and creative voices, and cement their position as the vanguard of Australian hip hop. 

With local-flavoured hip hop maturing into a cultural force that does deserve the hype, this smart and beautifully photographed documentary taps the street-level power of today's scene.

 

The September Issue

(MIFF, 2009)

“The film isn’t the hatchet job you might expect it to be when the central character is the real life devil in Prada, whose brusque nature and support of the fur trade has drawn comparisons to Cruella De Vil.” - SBS Movies 

Allegedly the inspiration for Meryl Streep's character in The Devil Wears Prada, Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour is one of the most powerful and polarising figures in fashion. With unprecedented access, this film follows the notoriously icy Wintour and her harried team as they prepare the massive (800+ pages!) September 2007 edition of Vogue.

Full of simmering inter-office intrigue and bitchy editorial meetings, and featuring an editorial chief that makes respected designers quiver in their boots, The September Issue is a fascinating look behind the glamour of the fashion biz. 

Winner of the cinematography award at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.

The September Issue review: Rag trade doc a portrait of grace under pressure

 

Read more of the latest SBS Movies news

See what else is screening across SBS

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