So maybe 2016 wasn’t the best, but hopefully your new year brings a whole new start. Here are a handful of our favourite reinvention movies at SBS On Demand to inspire your 2017 and beyond.
By
Stephen A. Russell

22 Dec 2016 - 4:39 PM  UPDATED 22 Dec 2016 - 4:39 PM

The First Day of the Rest of Your Life

M
France, 2008
Genre: Drama
Language: French
Director: Rémi Bezançon
Starring: Marc-André Grondin, Déborah François, Zabou Breitman, Jacques Gamblin, Pio Marmaï
What's it about?
Scooping three César awards in 2009, including Most Promising recognition for young leads Déborah François and Marc-André Grondin, writer-director Rémi Bezançon’s gorgeous without resorting to sentimentality movie drops in on the Duval family on five days across 12 years. A reminder to love the ones surrounding you as a New Year dawns. 

 

A Five Star Life

M
Italy, 2013
Genre: Drama, Romance
Language: Italian
Director: Maria Sole Tognazzi
Starring: Margherita Buy, Stefano Accorsi, Fabrizia Sacchi
What's it about?
You gotta work, and a magnificent Margherita Buy’s Irene loves her dream career, jetting around the globe as a luxury hotel critic in Maria Sole Tognazzi’s A Five Star Life. While her sister Silvia (Fabrizia Sacchi) castigates her for not having a man in her life, one look at her family makes you wonder who has the right idea. There’s no obvious Hollywood answer here.

 

Conchita: Unstoppable

PG
Germany, 2015
Genre: Documentary feature, Culture and Society
Language: German
Director: Alexandra Venier
Starring: Conchita Wurst
What's it about?
One day can change your life forever, or at least one enormously chintzy glitter-fest, otherwise known as the Eurovision Song Contest. Alexandra Venier’s intimate doco traces the game-changing nature of Conchita Wurst’s 2014 win, propelling the bearded drag queen from Austria onto the global stage, from where she’s taken every opportunity to campaign for equal rights for all.

 

A Happy Event

MA15+
France, 2011
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Language: French
Director: Rémi Bezançon
Starring: Louise Bourgoin, Pio Marmaï, Josiane Balasko
What's it about?
New year, new life. Literally. Another gem from Rémi Bezançon, this time adapted from the novel by Eliette Abecassis, A Happy Event stars Louise Bourgoin and Pio Marmaï as doting new parents. It’s an honest look at how raising a little one changes everything, with both the soaring highs and crushing lows laid bare as their relationship morphs into something new.

 

Chinese Puzzle

M
France, 2013
Genre: Romance, Comedy
Language: French
Director: Cédric Klapisch
Starring: Romain Duris, Kelly Reilly, Audrey Tautou, Cécile De France
What's it about?
Another year older, but not necessarily wiser. Cédric Klapisch’s gorgeous romantic comedy Chinese Puzzle stars Romain Duris as an author who feels his life has fallen apart at 40, particularly given his split from ex-wife Wendy (Kelly Reilly). Following her to New York to keep in touch with their kids, visa complications and other hurdles arise. A soaring look at life more complicated, it playfully embraces the obstacles we place in the way of our own happiness.

 

Advanced Style

M
USA, 2013
Genre: Documentary, Biography
Language: English
Director: Lina Plioplyte
Starring: Joyce Carpati, Lynn Dell, Zelda Kaplan, Jacquie Murdock, Ari Cohen
What's it about?
You’re never too old to reinvent yourself, and what better time of year to add a dash of some sparkling glamour? Lina Plioplyte’s wonderfully life-affirming doco follows Advanced Style blog founder Ari Cohen as he travels around Manhattan snapping the best-dressed women over 50 in town, accruing plenty of rock solid life advice along the way. Why fit in when you can step out in style?

 

My Stuff

M
Finland, 2013
Genre: Documentary, Lifestyle
Language: Finnish
Director: Petri Luukkainen
Starring: Petri Luukkainen
What's it about?
Are you a hoarder? Does your pad need a major de-clutter for 2017? Why not take the dramatic approach of Finnish documentary filmmaker Petri Luukkainen who sealed away his entire belongings in a storage facility and only allowed himself to retrieve one item per day over the course of a year. Talk about a crash course in what really matters to you, and his chats with his gran are priceless.

 

Camille Rewinds

M
France, 2010
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Language: French
Director: Noémie Lvovsky
Starring: Noémie Lvovsky, Samir Guesmi, Judith Chemla
What's it about?
Dumped for a younger woman on New Year’s Eve (what a cad), writer-director and star Noémie Lvovsky plays 40-year-old Camille AND her teenage self after a mishap sees her knocked back into her past self. Given the chance to revaluate her relationship with Eric (Samir Guesmi) long before it founders, the temptation is to save her dead mum too. But would you really want to replay your life, and what would be the consequences if you did?

 

Departures

M
Japan, 2008
Genre: Drama
Language: Japanese
Director: Yojiro Takita
Starring: Masahiro Motoki, Ryôko Hirosue,Tsutomu Yamazaki
What's it about?
Taking home Best Foreign Language Film at the 2009 Oscars, director Yôjirô Takita’s delicately powerful movie tackles mortality with a shimmering grace. Masahiro Motoki stars as a handsome young man who embraces an expensive new cello even as his career hits the skids, before winding up working at a funeral parlour. Imbued with loss, Departures is predominantly a film about hope and the joy we can and must find while we’re here.

 

Big Like Me

MA15+
USA, 2014
Genre: Documentary, Sexuality
Language: English
Director: Greg Bergman, Aaron Freese
Starring: Greg Bergman
What's it about?
Sometimes you’ve got to learn to be happy with what you’ve got. This message most definitely falls on deaf ears for comedian Greg Bergman, who will never be happy with the size of his penis. Obsessed with pills, implants and needle pricks in his quest to enlarge his male ego, you really feel sorry for everyone else around him. Which will hopefully make you feel much better about you.

 

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