To mark the start of SBS's "Face Up To Racism" week, explore this collection of 10 movies and documentaries challenging preconceptions around race and prejudice. #FU2Racism
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SBS Movies

28 Feb 2017 - 12:04 PM  UPDATED 28 Feb 2017 - 3:20 PM

Fruitvale Station

M
USA, 2013
Genre: Drama
Language: English
Director: Ryan Coogler
Starring: Michael B. Jordan, Melonie Diaz, Octavia Spencer
What's it about?
Based on a tragic true story, Fruitvale Station marks the first collaboration between Creed director Ryan Coogler and his young star Michael B. Jordan (The Wire, Friday Night Lights). It follows a troubled 22-year-old San Francisco resident, Oscar, on December 31, 2008, as he decides to turn his life around and become a better son, partner and father. But everything changes when Oscar takes the train to watch the NYE fireworks in the city with his girlfriend, and crosses paths with the BART Police.

Fruitvale Station review: Indie drama shines a light on victim of violence

 

The Reluctant Fundamentalist

M
UK, 2013
Genre: Thriller
Language: English
Director: Mira Nair
Starring: Riz Ahmed, Liev Schreiber, Kate Hudson
What's it about?
Directed by the Monsoon Wedding director Mira Nair, and based on the acclaimed novel by Mohsin Hamid, this explosive political thriller explores the journey of radicalisation and the question of how far an activist should go to express their political beliefs. British actor Riz Ahmed (Four Lions, Rogue One) stars as a young Pakistani analyst chasing corporate success on Wall Street. But after the 9/11 attacks, his American Dream turn into a nightmare, as he finds himself racially profiled, and turned into the enemy.

The Reluctant Fundamentalist: interviews
The Reluctant Fundamentalist Review

 

Murder on a Sunday Morning

M
France, USA, 2001
Genre: Crime, Documentary, Foreign
Language: English
Director: Jean-Xavier de Lestrade
What's it about?
Director Jean-Xavier de Lestrade won an Academy Award in 2001 for his fascinating documentary feature Murder on a Sunday Morning, about the trial of a black American teenager accused of robbing and murdering an elderly white tourist at a Florida hotel. The film follows the teen's defense team as they build a case that shows ineptitude and prejudice on the part of the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, which led to one of the most appalling miscarriages of justice in American history.

 

Blackfellas

MA15+
Australia, 1993
Genre: Drama
Language: English
Director: James Ricketson
Starring: John Moore, David Ngoombujarra, Ernie Dingo
What's it about?
Based on the novel 'The Day of the Dog' by Archie Weller, Blackfellas tells the story of a part-Aboriginal man, Doug Dooligan, who has just got out of prison, and find himself caught between his allegiance to his people and his aspirations to escape the cycle of abuse and self-destructive behaviour in which they live. And when Doug is asked to help an old friend pull off a robbery, he finds it hard to refuse. A bold and controversial film exploring the harsh reality of Australian race relations.

 

Tsotsi

M
Uk, South Africa, 2005
Genre: Crime, Drama
Language: Zulu, Afrikaans, Xhosa, English
Director: Gavin Hood
Starring: Percy Matsemela, Israel Makoe, Mothusi Magano, Presley Chweneyagae
What's it about?
Set amidst the sprawling Johannesburg township of Soweto – where survival is the primary objective – this Oscar-winning film traces six days in the life of a ruthless young gang leader, who ends up caring for a baby accidentally kidnapped during a car-jacking. Benefiting from stylised cinematography and a killer Kwaito soundtrack, Tsotsi offers a gritty and moving portrait of an angry young man living in a state of extreme urban deprivation, and his chance at redemption.

Tsotsi Review

 

Little White Lie

M
USA, 2014
Genre: Documentary
Language: English
Director: Lacey Schwartz
What's it about?
Little White Lie is the incredible story of director Lacey Schwartz, who grew up convinced she was white, despite having copper skin, black curls, and full lips - features which distinguished her instantly from her pale Jewish parents. It wasn't until she was 18 that she learned the truth: her real father was black. Eight years in the making and put together by Lacey herself, this compelling documentary explores the power of denial, and what defines our identity.

 

Hoop Dreams

M
USA, 1994
Genre: Documentary
Language: English
Director: Steve James
Starring: William Gates, Arthur Agee
What's it about?
Shot over five years, this riveting classic documentary follows two African American teenagers who hope to become college basketball players and make it in the NBA. The talented duo dream of using their sporting achievements as a way to escape the drug addiction, poverty, and violence within their inner-city Chicago environment – and to improve the lives of their families. Universally acclaimed ever since its release in 1994, Hoop Dreams provides an incisive insight into underprivileged black urban existence.

Hoop Dreams review: This film is not about sports, it's about life.

 

Salute

PG
Australia, USA, 2008
Genre: Documentary
Language: English
Director: Matt Norman
What's it about?
In 1968 at the Mexico Olympic Games, two American athletes, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, gave the black power salute while standing on the podium after the 200 metres final, as the American national anthem was playing. They became symbols of the US civil rights movement, but paid a hefty price as they subsequently became ostracised and harassed for many years. Directed by the nephew of Peter Norman, the white Australian athlete who stood with Smith and Carlos on the podium, this documentary highlights his role in the iconic event.

Read: Social exclusion couldn’t stop the rise of black athletes

 

12 Years a Slave

MA15+
USA, 2013
Genre: Drama
Language: English
Director: Steve McQueen
Starring: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Lupita Nyong'o, Michael Fassbender
What's it about?
Inspired by a true story, Steve McQueen's Oscar-winning drama merges his uncompromising visual style with powerful performances. Chiwetel Ejiofor plays Solomon Northup, a free man from upstate New York who is abducted and sold into slavery in the Deep South, where he struggles to stay alive and retain his dignity in the face of untold cruelty.

12 Years a Slave: Interview
12 Years A Slave Review

 

The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975

M
Sweden, 2011
Genre: Documentary
Language: English
Director: Göran Olsson
Starring: Angela Davis, Harry Belafonte, Erykah Badu, Stokely Carmichael, Kathleen Cleaver
What's it about?
The Black Power Mixtape offers an unprecedented account of the Black Power Movement from 1967 to 1975. The film benefits from amazing archival footage initially shot by a group of Swedish journalists, who gained access to many of the leaders of the Black Power Movement, such as Stokely Carmichael, Bobby Seale, Angela Davis and Eldridge Cleaver. Music by Questlove and Om'Mas Keith, and commentary from prominent African-American artists and activists (Erykah Badu, Harry Belafonte) give the historical footage a fresh, contemporary resonance.

 

Explore the 'Black Lives Matter' collection at SBS On Demand

Learn more about our week of programs on race and prejudice on our dedicated program page: Face up to racism 

Join the conversation on Twitter: #FU2Racism