• (L - R) 'Learning To Skateboard In A Warzone (If You're a Girl)', 'Tracks', 'The Man Who Knew Infinity' and 'A Street Cat Named Bob' (SBS)Source: SBS
We could all do with a mood breaker right now, and these films (many based on true stories) will help make you feel uplifted and inspired. Now streaming at SBS On Demand.
SBS Movies

9 Oct 2020 - 12:22 PM  UPDATED 26 Oct 2020 - 3:24 PM

Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You're a Girl)

UK, 2019
Genre: Documentary Short
Language: Dari
Director: Carol Dysinger
What's it about?
This inspiring short film was the winner of the 2020 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short Subject and the 2020 BAFTA winner for Best British Short Film. Housed in space that serves as both a schoolhouse and a skatepark, Skateistan is a non-profit organisation in Afghanistan that teaches young girls to read, write – and skateboard – in Kabul. The girls are taught to have courage and are given the skills to prepare them for life in Afghanistan and beyond. At only 39 minutes long this inspiring and empowering film is one you won't want to miss.



Australia, 2014
Genre: Biography
Language: English
Director: John Curran
Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Emma Booth, Adam Driver
What's it about?
In 1977, 26-year-old Australian Robyn Davidson set out on an epic adventure. Davidson’s sense of restlessness and yearning to expand her horizons saw her through years of planning and learning skills to pull off the journey. Accompanied by her loyal dog Diggity and four camels, she trekked from Alice Springs to Uluru all the way to the Indian Ocean, covering no less than 2,700 kilometres of desert and overcoming a great many obstacles. This is an incredible true story about an enigmatic, strong, inspiring and bold woman (played wonderfully by Mia Wasikowska) plus the landscapes are spectacular.

Tracks: Mia Wasikowska and Robyn Davidson interview
Tracks: A Beautifully Rendered Drama
Tracks, a film that lets a woman thrive in the outback


The Man Who Knew Infinity

United Kingdom, 2016
Genre: Drama
Language: English
Director: Matt Brown
Starring: Jeremy Irons, Dev Patel, Toby Jones, Stephen Fry
What's it about?
Growing up in poverty in Madras, India, Srinivasa Ramanujan earns admittance to Cambridge University during WWI where he becomes a pioneer in mathematical theories with the guidance of his professor, G.H. Hardy (who also becomes an unlikely friend). The film is a portrait of a genius under pressure, Ramanujan endured scathing racial prejudice while doing groundbreaking work at Cambridge University in the early 20th century. A delightful and moving film that is filled with strong performances, it brings to life a genius long overdue for recognition.


A Street Cat Named Bob

United Kingdom, 2016
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Language: English
Director: Roger Spottiswoode
Starring: Luke Treadaway, Ruta Gedmintas, Joanne Froggatt, Anthony Stewart Head, Caroline Goodall
What's it about?
Based on the international best-selling book, this is the true feel-good story of how James Bowen's life was transformed by a stray ginger cat. Bowen was living in a shelter and in recovery for a drug addiction when injured street cat Bob came into his life. Bob accompanied Bowen while busking on the streets of London and selling copies of The Big Issue. Bowen went on to write a book about the pair’s relationship, and what it had meant to his life. In light of Bob’s recent tragic demise, this touching film becomes only more poignant.


As It Is In Heaven

Sweden, 2004
Genre: Music, Drama
Language: Swedish
Director: Kay Pollak
Starring: Michael Nyqvist, Frida Hallgren
What's it about?
Grab the tissues and watch this incredibly heart-warming film about the power of love and community that took Australia by storm when it first released in cinemas (it played for two years straight at Sydney's Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace). Daniel Daréus, a successful international conductor suddenly interrupts his career and returns to his childhood village in the far north of Sweden. He is asked to listen to the fragment of a church choir in the parish hall – just to give some advice. From that moment nothing in the village is the same again. The choir develops and grows, and Daniel makes both friends and enemies and finds love. Sometimes inspiration is found where you least expect it.


A United Kingdom

United Kingdom, 2016
Genre: Drama, History
Language: English
Director: Amma Asante
Starring: David Oyelowo, Rosamund Pike, Tom Felton, Jack Davenport, Terry Pheto, Laura Carmichael
What's it about?
Directed by Amma Asante (Belle), A United Kingdom tells the inspiring true story of Seretse Khama, the king of Bechuanaland (modern Botswana) and Ruth Williams, the London office worker that he married in 1948 in the face of fierce opposition from their families and the British and South African governments. Seretse and Ruth defied family, apartheid and empire – their love triumphed over every obstacle flung in their path and in so doing they transformed their nation and inspired the world.

'A United Kingdom' celebrates interracial couples on screen, with contemporary relevance


The Lunchbox

France, Germany, India, 2013
Genre: Drama, Romance
Language: English, Hindi
Director: Ritesh Batra
Starring: Irrfan Khan, Nimrat Kaur, Nawazuddin Siddiqui
What's it about?
In Mumbai's famously efficient lunchbox delivery system, a meal made by an unhappy young housewife mistakenly lands in the hands of a widower. After realising the mix-up, the strangers begin to communicate through a series of letters, revealing a little more of themselves each time. Writer/director Ritesh Batra's tender debut proved a hit with audiences worldwide. This Mumbai-set rom-com stars the late, great Irrfan Khan in a heart-tugger that is sure to get your tummy rumbling too (why not plan ahead and DIY?).  

The Lunchbox review: Gentle romance gets the flavours just right
Irrfan Khan opens up about The Lunchbox, love letters and his favourite foods (interview)
Dinner and a Movie: The Lunchbox


Orchestra Class

France, 2017
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Language: French
Director: Rachid Hami
Starring: Kad Merad, Samir Guesmi, Renély Alfred, Tatiana Rojo, Slimane Dazi, Jean-Luc Vincent
What's it about?
Simon is a distinguished, but disillusioned violinist. He has recently gone through a divorce and found a job teaching orchestra in a working-class neighbourhood of Paris. Arnold is a shy and chubby student who is fascinated with the violin and discovers that he has real talent for it. With Arnold's raw talent and the joyous energy of his class, Simon gradually rediscovers the joys of music. But will he keep his promise to take the class to perform at the Paris Philharmonic? One thing is for certain – by the end of this film you will feel truly uplifted.


Microbe and Gasoline

France, 2015
Genre: Comedy
Language: French
Director: Michel Gondry
Starring: Audrey Tautou, Sacha Bourdo, Fabio Zenoni, Laurent Poitrenaux, Étienne Charry, Théophile Baquet
What's it about?
Microbe is a shy boy, often lost in his drawings. Gasoline is a smart, inventive kid, who arrives at school in the middle of the year. The two instantly become great friends, and as the summer vacations draw closer, they both know that neither wants to spend two months with their respective families. Thanks to a lawnmower engine and a few planks, they build their own “car” and set off for adventure on the roads of France. Directed by Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) the film has all of his signature wonder and charm and the story will warm your heart.

'Microbe and Gasoline': Michel Gondry's Coming-Of-Age Charmer

Microbe and Gasoline, directed by Michael Gondry



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