• From left: 'Here I Am', 'Brick Lane', 'Still Alice', 'Wadjda'. (SBS Movies)Source: SBS Movies
Enjoy these acclaimed films with powerful female protagonists every day of the year. All are now streaming at SBS On Demand.
By
Staff writers

9 Mar 2018 - 10:34 AM  UPDATED 9 Mar 2018 - 11:10 AM

Still Alice

M
USA, 2015
Genre: Drama
Language: English
Director: Richard Glatzer, Wash Westmoreland
Starring: Julianne Moore, Kristen Stewart, Kate Bosworth, Shane McRae, Alec Baldwin
What's it about?
Fifty-year-old Alice Howland (Julianne Moore) leads a seemingly perfect life, with a happy marriage and three grown children, and a successful career as a renowned linguistics professor. However her life is turned upside down when she starts forgetting words. She receives a devastating diagnosis of Early-Onset Alzheimer's Disease, which will put Alice and her family through the test, as she struggles to remain the woman she once was.

Julianne Moore on Still Alice, on getting inside the mind of Alzheimer's sufferers
'Still Alice' Co-Director Richard Glatzer Dies
Still Alice review

Postcards from the Edge

M
USA,
Genre: Comedy drama
Language: English
Director: Mike Nichols
Starring: Meryl Streep, Shirley Maclaine
What's it about?
Hollywood actress Suzanne Vale is on a slippery slope as a recovering addict. On exit from rehab, it is recommended she stay with her mother, who has become a somewhat champion drinker herself. Suzanne therefore struggles to maintain her sobriety and her sanity in the company of Doris. Nominated for two 1990 Academy Awards, including Best Actress (Streep) and Best Original Song.

Wadjda

PG
Saudi Arabia, 2012
Genre: Drama
Language: Arabic
Director: Haifaa Al-Mansour
Starring: Sultan Al Assaf, Ahd Kamel, Abdullrahman Al Gohani, Waad Mohammed, Reem Abdullah
What's it about?
Wadjda (Waad Mohammed) is a 10-year-old girl living in a suburb of Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. Although she lives in a conservative world, Wadjda is fun loving, entrepreneurial and rebellious. She’s determined to fight for her dreams, which include saving enough money to buy a bicycle, so she can race her friend Abdullah (Abdullrahman Al Gohani). Wadjda lives at home with her parents, who are loving if a little distracted. Her father isn’t around much, and her mother is convinced he’s busy looking for a second wife. The story is tailored to highlight the pressures and difficulties faced by women in Saudi Arabia, with a rare glimpse into the lives of women behind closed doors and the warm relationships between mothers and daughters.

Wadjda: Haifaa Al-Mansour interview

Here I Am

M
Australia, 2011
Genre: Drama
Language: English
Director: Beck Cole
Starring: Shai Pittman, Pauline Whyman, Marcia Langton, Bruce Carter
What's it about?
Fresh out of prison, Karen (Shai Pittman) finds herself stuck on the streets. She finds sanctuary at a shelter for Aboriginal women where she begins the painful journey of reconnecting with her estranged mother and her young daughter.

Here I Am Review

Brick Lane

PG
United Kingdom, 2007
Genre: Drama
Language: English
Director: Sarah Gavron
Starring: Christopher Simpson, Satish Kaushik, Tannishtha Chatterjee
What's it about?
Nazneem (Tannishtha Chatterjee) is sent to London from Bangladesh, leaving behind her beloved sister and home, for an arranged marriage and a new life. Trapped within the four walls of her flat in Brick Lane, East London, and in a loveless marriage with the middle aged Chanu (Satish Kaushik), complete with two daughters. She fears her soul is quietly dying. Her sister Hasina (Zafreen), meanwhile, continues to live a carefree life back in Bangladesh, stumbling from one adventure to the next. Then one day, Karim (Christopher Simpson) knocks on her door with a consignment of garments for hemming, casual work she has taken on for extra money. Age difference aside, Karim and Nazneem begin to nurture a relationship.  

Brick Lane: Internal journeys are the most challenging to film

A Separation

Iran
Genre: Drama 
Language: Farsi
Director: Asghar Farhadi
Starring: Leila Hatami, Sarina Farhadi, Peyman Moaadi
What's it about?
An estranged couple, Nader (Peyman Moaadi) and Simin (Leila Hatami), decide to divorce when they are unable to reconcile their opposing views on whether to stay in Tehran. They have acquired visas to emigrate from Iran, in Simin's hope to ensure a better future for their 10-year-old daughter, Termeh (Sarina Farhadi), but Nader refuses to leave his elderly father who is afflicted with Alzheimer's disease. When the judge refuses to formalise their separation, Simin leaves the family home, and obstinate Nader hires a housekeeper, Razieh (Sareh Bayat), who tends to the apartment and Nader's father, with her own four-year-old daughter in tow. When Nader returns one day to find his father alone and compromised, his fury leads to an altercation that has unexpected and devastating consequences.

A Separation Review

Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work

MA15+, 2010
Genre: Documentary
Language: English
Director: Anne Sundberg, Ricki Stern
Starring: Joan Rivers
What's it about?
A no-holds-barred biography of the private dramas of the late, great comedian and pop icon Joan Rivers.  Directed by Directed by Ricki Stern & Annie Sundberg, the film provides a unique look inside America’s obsession with fame and celebrity - Joan’s story is both an outrageously funny journey and a brutally honest look at the ruthless entertainment industry, the trappings of success and the ultimate vulnerability of the first queen of comedy. 

Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work Review

Gloria

MA15+
Chile, 2012
Genre: Drama
Language: Spanish
Director: Sebastián Lelio
Starring: Paulina Garcia, Sergio Hernández, Hugo Moraga
What's it about?
Gloria (Paulina García) is a 58-year-old divorcée. Her children have all left home but she has no desire to spend her days and nights alone. Determined to defy old age and loneliness, she rushes headlong into a whirl of singles’ parties on the hunt for instant gratification – which just leads repeatedly to disappointment and emptiness. But then she meets Rodolfo (Sergio Hernández), an ex-naval officer seven years her senior to whom she feels romantically inclined. She even begins to imagine a permanent relationship. However, the encounter presents unexpected challenges and Gloria gradually finds herself being forced to confront her own dark secrets.

Gloria: Sebastián Lelio interview
Why You Should Watch: Gloria
Gloria Review

Persepolis

PG
France, 2007
Genre: Animation
Language: French, Persian, English
Director: Vincent Paronnaud, Marjane Satrapi
Starring: Catherine Deneuve, Simon Abkarian, Danielle Darrieux, Chiara Mastroianni
What's it about?
A coming-of-age story about a precocious and outspoken young Iranian girl that begins during the Islamic Revolution. The story follows Marjane (Chiara Mastroianni) as she outsmarts the 'social guardians' and discovers punk, ABBA and Iron Maiden, while living with the terror of government persecution and the Iran/Iraq war.

'Persepolis' depicts a world in which the personal is always political

Mustang

M
France, Turkey, 2015
Genre: Drama
Language: Turkish
Director: Deniz Gamze Erguven
Starring: Güneş Nezihe Şensoy, Doğa Zeynep Doğuşlu, Elit İşcan, Tuğba Sunguroğlu, İlayda Akdoğan, Nihal Koldaş, Ayberk Pekcan, Bahar Kerimoğlu, Burak Yigit, Erol Afsin, Suzanne Marrot, Serife Kara, Aynur Komecoglu, Enes Sürüm
What's it about?
In a village in the north of Turkey, Lale and her four sisters innocently celebrate the end of the school year at the beach with some boys. The supposed debauchery of their actions causes their home to progressively transform into a prison; classes on housework and cooking replace school, and marriages are arranged. The five sisters, driven by the same desire for freedom, fight back against the limits imposed upon them.

Watch the mighty 'Mustang' this International Women's Day

 

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