• From left: Carol, Delicatessen, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, The King's Speech (SBS Movies)Source: SBS Movies
Your guide to some of the stories from around the world, screening on Australia's own HD SBS World Movies channel (Digital channel 32).
SBS Movies

18 Dec 2019 - 4:31 PM  UPDATED 18 Dec 2019 - 4:31 PM



UK, Norway, Denmark, 2012
Genre: Adventure, Biography, Action
Language: Norwegian
Director: Joachim Rønning
Starring: Pål Sverre Hagen, Anders Baasmo Christiansen, Gustaf Skarsgård
What's it about?
The story of the legendary explorer Thor Heyerdal's (Hagen) epic 101 day, 4,300-mile crossing of the Pacific on a balsawood raft in 1947. Along with 5 adventurous companions, Heyerdal sought to prove his theory that it was possible for South Americans to settle in Polynesia in pre-Columbian times. Academy Award-nominated for Best Foreign Language Film.

Kon-Tiki: Joachim Rønning interview

Worlds Apart

Denmark, 2008
Genre: Drama
Language: Danish
Director: Niels Arden Oplev
Starring: Rosalinde Mynster, Pilou Asbæk, Sarah Boberg
What's it about?
Based on a true story, a young girl (Mynster) is torn between her conscience, religion and passion when she is forced to make a choice between her faith and her feelings for a man (Asbæk) who does not belong to her family's church, the Jehovah's Witnesses.


A Monster Calls

USA, Spain, 2016
Genre: Drama, Fantasy
Language: English
Director: J.A. Bayona
Starring: Lewis MacDougall, Sigourney Weaver, Felicity Jones, Toby Kebbell, Liam Neeson
What's it about?
A monster comes to young Connor (MacDougall), and it asks for the one thing Connor cannot bring himself to do - tell the truth. Connor very damaged, guilty, and mostly angry, struggling at school with bullies as well as his mother's sickness. Will Connor overcome his problems? Will everything be okay? Will Connor be able to speak the truth?


USA, 2016
Genre: Drama, History
Language: Japanese, English
Director: Martin Scorsese
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver, Tadanobu Asano, Ciaran Hinds, Liam Neeson, Issei Ogata
What's it about?
Martin Scorsese's long-awaited adaptation of the Shusaku Endo novel about 17th century Jesuits (Garfield, Driver) who risk their lives to bring Christianity to Japan. Nominated for Best Cinematography (Rodrigo Prieto) at the 2017 Academy Awards.


The King's Speech

UK, 2010
Genre: Drama, History
Language: English
Director: Tom Hooper
Starring: Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter, Derek Jacobi, Jennifer Ehle
What's it about?
After the death of his father King George V and the scandalous abdication of King Edward VIII, Bertie (Firth), who has suffered from a debilitating speech impediment all his life, is suddenly crowned King George VI of England. With his country on the brink of war and in desperate need of a leader, his wife, Elizabeth (Bonham Carter), the future Queen Mother, arranges for her husband to see an eccentric speech therapist, Lionel Logue (Rush). Winner of Best Picture at the 2011 Academy Awards.

The King's Speech review: Full of wit, grace and emotion

The Passion of the Christ

USA, 2004
Genre: Drama
Language: Aramaic, Latin, Hebrew
Director: Mel Gibson
Starring: Jim Caviezel, Monica Bellucci, Maia Morgenstern
What's it about?
Focuses on the last twelve hours of Jesus of Nazareth's (Caviezel) life. The film begins in the Garden of Olives where Jesus has gone to pray after the Last Supper. Jesus must resist the temptations of Satan. Betrayed by Judas Iscariot, Jesus is then arrested and taken within the city walls of Jerusalem where leaders of the Pharisees confront him with accusations of blasphemy and his trial results in a condemnation to death. 

Why You Should Watch: The Passion of the Christ


Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Taiwan, Hong Kong, USA, China, 2000
Genre: Martial Arts, Drama, Romance
Language: Mandarin
Director: Ang Lee
Starring: Ziyi Zhang, Michelle Yeoh, Chow Yun-Fat, Chen Chang
What's it about?
When a politician's daughter steals a legendary warrior's precious sword, a sequence of events is triggered to recover the sword, which leads to a deadly encounter with the thief's witch-like minder. From renowned director Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain), the film received four Academy Awards in 2001, including Best Foreign Language Film and Best Cinematography.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon review (by Margaret Pomeranz for The Movie Show, 2001)

Harry Brown

UK, 2009
Genre: Thriller
Language: English
Director: Daniel Barber
Starring: Michael Caine, Ben Drew, Jack O'Connell, Emily Mortimer
What's it about?
Harry Brown (Caine) is an elderly ex-marine living in a dingy English housing estate apartment. The escalating crime and violence has made him so frightened that he won’t even use the underpass near his home. Shortly after his wife dies, Harry's best friend is murdered, prompting Harry to seek revenge on the criminal lowlifes who have made his life hell. 

Why You Should Watch: Harry Brown



France, 1991
Genre: Comedy, Crime
Language: French
Director: Marc Caro, Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Starring: Marie-Laure Dougnac, Dominique Pinon, Pascal Benezech
What's it about?
Set in a post-apocalyptic future, a landlord who happens to be a butcher starts slaughtering humans to feed his starving tenants, a practice which outrages a vegetarian guerrilla group living in the sewers beneath the city streets. Winner of four César Awards in 1992, including Best First Work for Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet (who together directed The City of Lost Children, while Jeunet went on to direct Amelie.)

David and Margaret review Delicatessen on The Movie Show (Episode 05 1992)


USA, 2017
Genre: Drama
Language: English, Latin
Director: Margaret Betts
Starring: Margaret Qualley, Melissa Leo, Julianne Nicholson, Dianna Agron
What's it about?
Raised by a vehemently non-religious, single mother (Nicholson) in rural Tennessee during the '50s, a scholarship to Catholic school soon finds Cathleen (Qualley) drawn into all the mystery and romanticism of a life devoted to the worship and servitude of God. With the dawn of the Vatican II era, radical changes in the Church are threatening the course of nuns’ lives. Cathleen finds herself struggling with issues of faith, sexuality, and the changing administration.

'Novitiate': Engrossing, Superbly Acted Convent Drama



USA, UK, 2015
Genre: Drama, Romance, LGBTIQ+
Language: English
Director: Todd Haynes
Starring: Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Sarah Paulson, Kyle Chandler
What's it about?
Based on Patricia Highsmith’s seminal novel 'The Price of Salt', the 1950s-set romantic drama from acclaimed director Todd Haynes (Far From HeavenI'm Not There) follows Carol (Blanchett), a Manhattan socialite trapped in a loveless marriage of convenience with Harge (Chandler), whose life is forever changed when she meets a department store clerk (Mara). Nominated for five Academy awards, including Best Actress (Blanchett), Supporting Actress (Mara), Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography, Original Score and Costume Design.

Carol review: A magnificent, mesmerising account of mid-century desire

The Taking of Tiger Mountain

China, Hong Kong, 2014
Genre: Thriller, War, Adventure
Language: Chinese
Director: Tsui Hark
Starring: Zhang Hanyu, Tony Leung Ka-Fai, Tong Liya, Lin Gengxin
What's it about?
Based on the real life story of an incident in 1946 during the Chinese Civil War, the film involves a communist reconnaissance team soldier Yang Zirong (Zhang) who disguised himself as a bandit to infiltrate a local gang of bandits, eventually helping the main communist force to destroy the bandits. Based on the novel "Tracks in the Snowy Forest" by Qu Bo.


The Big Blue

France, 1988
Genre: Drama, Romance
Language: French, Italian
Director: Luc Besson
Starring: Jean Reno, Jean-Marc Barr, Rosanna Arquette, Griffin Dunne
What's it about?
The Big Blue charts the competition and friendship between Jacques (Barr) and Enzo (Reno) first in their youth, and then when they meet again at the World Free Diving Championships in Sicily years later. A dreamy adolescent, Jacques has grown into a solitary man, caught between the solidity of the real world and the spiritual beckoning of 'the big blue'—and in particular the dolphins swimming below. From director Luc Besson (Leon: The Professional, The Fifth Element).

The Big Blue review (David and Margaret, 1988) and interview

Holy Motors

France, 2012
Genre: Drama, Fantasy
Language: French
Director: Leos Carax
Starring: Denis Lavant, Jean-François Balmer, Eva Mendes, Edith Scob, Kylie Minogue
What's it about?
From dawn to dusk, a few hours in the life of Monsieur Oscar (Lavant), a shadowy character who journeys from one life to the next. He is, in turn, captain of industry, assassin, beggar, monster, family man. He seems to be playing roles, plunging headlong into each part – but there are no cameras present. From Leos Carax, cult director of The Lovers on the Bridge and the upcoming musical Annette (starring Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard).

Holy Motors: Denis Lavant interview
Holy Motors: Cheat sheet
Holy Motors Review