• (L-R) Sweet Country, Marni, Jedda, She Who Must Be Loved (SBS)Source: SBS
Celebrate history and storytelling in National Reconciliation Week (May 27 – June 3).
SBS Movies

26 May 2020 - 1:00 PM  UPDATED 26 May 2020 - 1:36 PM

Reconciliation Week runs from May 27 – June 3 and is dedicated to growing respectful relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians. It's a time for all Australians to consider the history and culture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and acknowledge the history of Indigenous Australia, pre- and post-colonisation. Accepting this history is a commitment to ensuring these wrongs are never repeated in the future. 

Be a part of the journey towards reconciliation and regard these Australian films that share indigenous stories and history this Reconciliation Week.

Sweet Country

Australia, 2017
Genre: Drama, History, Western
Language: English
Director: Warwick Thornton
Starring: Hamilton Morris, Bryan Brown, Sam Neill, Thomas M. Wright, Ewen Leslie, Matt Day, Gibson John, Natassia Gorey Furber, Anni Finsterer, Tremayne Doolan, Trevon Doolan
What's it about?
Inspired by real events, Sweet Country is a period western set in 1929 in outback Northern Territory. Young boy Philomac witnesses Sam, an Aboriginal stockman, kill white station owner Harry Marsh in self defence. Sam and his pregnant wife Lizzie go on the run and a posse led by Sergeant Fletcher with the help of Aboriginal tracker Archie and local landowners Fred Smith and Mick Kennedy pursue them across the outback. Winner of the Special Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival, Sweet Country also took 6 AACTA Awards in 2018 including Best Film and Best Director for Warwick Thornton.

Warwick Thornton talks up his Venice award-winning film, 'Sweet Country'


Australia, 1955
Genre: Drama, Adventure, Action
Language: English
Director: Charles Chauvel
Starring: Rosalie Kunoth-Monks, Robert Tudawali
What's it about?
Charles Chauvel’s landmark 1955 film Jedda is an Australian cinema classic. When an Aboriginal woman dies in childbirth, Sarah, the wife of station owner Doug McMann, raises the baby. Doing their best to assimilate the child into white society, young Jedda is caught between two cultures, forbidden from learning about her indigenous heritage and never fully accepted by the other. As a teenager, Jedda is drawn to a mysterious newcomer called Marbuck, a tribal man in search of work and offering a new perspective on life. But, as their nascent relationship is tested by cultural taboos, their destiny is set to become an echo through the ages.

Charles Chauvel’s final feature film was not only the first colour feature film to be made in Australia but was nominated for the inaugural Palme dOr at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival.


Australia, 1993
Genre: Drama
Language: English
Director: James Ricketson
Starring: John Moore, David Ngoombujarva, Jaylene Riley, Ernie Dingo
What's it about?
Based on Archie Weller's award-winning novel The Day of The Dog, Blackfellas tells the story of Doug Douligan, a man caught between an undying allegiance to his heritage and his greater aspirations to be free from a deadly cycle of violence and self-destructive behaviour.

Both buoyed and perturbed by his life-long friend, the charismatic larrikin “Pretty Boy” Floyd, Doug finds himself deeply attracted to free spirited young Polly, presenting a future full of possibilities. But Doug is made all the more aware of his precarious position by his white mother and, like it or not, must face his past to truly understand himself.


Australia, 1987
Genre: Drama, Biography
Language: English
Director: Steve Jodrell
Starring: Ernie Dingo, Peter Fisher
What's it about?
Ernie Dingo delivers an outstanding portrayal of Robert Tudawali, the first Aboriginal film star, whose co-starring role in Jedda is iconic in Australian cinema. The film traces the life of Tudawali from the moment he was selected to play the lead in Jedda, his career as a boxer when he was unable to find more film roles, right through to his premature death at around age 40 from severe burns. It also portrays the stark contrast between Tudawali's home outside Darwin, and his life in Sydney, where he did most of his filming for movies and TV series. 

This powerful and important story also stars Charles "Bud" Tingwell and serves as a vital document on Australian film history and Aboriginal culture.


Australia, 1980
Genre: Drama, Adventure
Language: English
Director: John Honey
Starring: Mawuyul Yanthalawuy, Anna Ralph, Phillip Hinton
What's it about?
Edward Waterman and his family arrive in 1830 in a remote part of Tasmania (then known as Van Diemen’s Land). Waterman is pressured into helping British colonial forces carry out the Black Line – enforced removal of First Australians from land near white settlements. Manganinnie survives a Black Line raid which claims the life of her husband, Meenopeekameena. During a family outing in the wilderness, Waterman’s young daughter Joanna becomes separated from her family, leaving Manganinnie, who has been hiding in the area, to take Joanna into her care. Overcoming her initial mistrust of Manganinnie, Joanna joins her on a long journey in search of Manganinnie’s people.

AFI Award-winning film, Manganinnie captures the raw beauty of Tasmanias untouched wilderness whilst exploring a dark chapter in Australian history and delivers a richly textured tale of isolation and survival.


Australia, 2019
Genre: Documentary, Art & Culture, Slow TV
Language: English
Director: Tyson Mowarin
Starring: Allery Sandy
What's it about?
Marni is an immersive art experience in which an intricate dot painting about Country is created by celebrated Pilbara artist, Allery Sandy. A three-week recording of the painting of a commissioned art work, this mesmerising marathon of colour and dot work is intercut with the majestic landscapes of the Pilbara to a journeying sound track. As she paints we hear Allery tell us about herself and her art practice in Yindjibarndi language.

'Marni' is an immersive art experience in which an intricate dot painting about Country is created by celebrated Pilbara artist, Allery Sandy.

She Who Must Be Loved

Australia, 2019
Genre: Documentary, Culture and Society, Biography
Language: English
Director: Erica Glynn
Starring: Freda Glynn
What's it about?
A documentary that tells the epic life story of Freda Glynn, 78-year-old Kaytetye woman, stills photographer, co-founder of the Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association (CAAMA), and Imparja TV, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, radical, pacifist, grumpy old woman, who in equal measure loves the limelight and total privacy. Part-biopic, part-social history, it details the life of a woman born beneath a tree north of Alice Springs in 1939, her childhood living under the Aboriginal Protection policies and the complex impact this had upon her life.

Yolngu Boy

Australia, 2001
Genre: Drama
Language: English
Director: Stephen Johnson
Starring: Jack Thompson, John Sebastian Pilakui, Nathan Daniels, Sean Mununggurr, Lirrina Mununggurr
What's it about?
A celebrated story of three boys in Arnhem Land, coming of age as they inhabit dual cultures. Botj, Lorrpu and Milika are Yolngu teenagers who once shared a dream of becoming great hunters. Now aged 14, only Lorrpu hasn't diverged. Botj is a lost soul in trouble with the law, and Milika is more interested in football and girls. One of the central themes of the film is the divide between the prosperity-driven, materialistic western ideal of life and the everyday reality faced by young indigenous men. 

More 2020 Reconciliation Week Highlights

Celebrating Warwick Thornton

This year, NITV celebrates the works of award-winning Arrente filmmaker Warwick Thornton, with the world premiere of The Beach on Friday, May 29 at 7.30pm; a special three-hour TV event across NITV, SBS and SBS On Demand.

The special slate includes:

  • Thursday, May 28 at 8.30pm: Sweet Country (available now at SBS On Demand)
  • Thursday, May 28 at 10.25pm: Green Bush (available at SBS On Demand after broadcast)
  • Saturday, May 30 at 7.35pm: She Who Must Be Loved (available now at SBS On Demand)
  • Sunday, May 31 at 8.05pm: We Don’t Need a Map (available at SBS On Demand after broadcast)
  • Sunday, May 31 at 9.35pm: The Point: Warwick Thornton is Here (available at SBS On Demand after broadcast)

Mabo Day

On June 3, NITV celebrates Mabo Day on both TV and SBS On Demand.

  • 9.30pm on NITV: WIK vs Queensland: NITV gives a powerful insight into the High Court’s decision to grant native title to the Wik people in 1996 and the dramatic political and cultural fallout that followed. 
  • SBS On Demand will stream Mabo: Life of an Island Man: An award-winning documentary about the private and public stories of a man so passionate about his family and home that he fought an entire nation and its legal system. 


National Reconciliation Week runs from May 27 – June 3. In 2020, Reconciliation Australia marks 20 years of shaping Australia’s journey towards a more just, equitable and reconciled nation. Join the conversation on social media #NITV #NRW2020 #InThisTogether2020


On the beach at the end of the world with Warwick Thornton and his unruly chooks
Getting back to basics, filmmaker Warwick Thornton exorcised his inner demons in remote WA.
Say kia ora to the New Zealand movie collection at SBS On Demand
New Zealand is a leading force in diverse and quality cinema. From Campion to Waititi we have a collection of films from one of the most picturesque countries in the world for you to explore at SBS On Demand.
It’s time to reconsider ‘The Darjeeling Limited’
This is the black sheep of Wes Anderson’s films, but it’s a scrappy little fighter deserving of your affection.
Dinner and a Movie: 'Mostly Martha', paired with gnocchi
Match a meal from SBS Food with a movie at SBS On Demand, for the perfect night in.
‘Kung Fu Hustle’ is an underrated, genre-bending Asian movie you need to watch
It's time to give Stephen Chow’s ‘Kung Fu Hustle’ the credit it deserves.
Five Faves: Gillian Armstrong picks what to watch in isolation
Need some help deciding what to watch while you're stuck at home? We ask Australian directors, whose films are streaming at SBS On Demand, for five movie recommendations.
Five Faves: ‘Strange Colours’ director Alena Lodkina picks what to watch in isolation
Need some help deciding what to watch while you're stuck at home? We ask Australian directors, whose films are streaming at SBS On Demand, for five movie recommendations.
Five faves: 'Red Hill' director Patrick Hughes picks what to watch in isolation
Need some help deciding what to watch while you're stuck at home? We ask Australian directors, whose films are streaming at SBS On Demand, for five movie recommendations.
Five faves: Adam Elliot picks what to watch in isolation
Need some help deciding what to watch while you're stuck at home? We ask Australian directors, whose films are streaming at SBS On Demand, for five movie recommendations.
Frances Ha review: If you don’t feel like you’re a real person yet, this is the film for you
Starring and co-written by Greta Gerwig, this astute comedy-drama leans into the quarter-life crisis – and perfects it.