A two-week season devoted to racial issues in Australia and Britain and the Black experience in America.
SBS Movies

28 Oct 2020 - 7:34 PM  UPDATED 28 Oct 2020 - 7:37 PM

“These stories need to be told,” says Meyne Wyatt, a Wongutha-Yamatji actor, playwright, writer and artist of the 12 films and documentaries screening in the SBS World Movies ‘Black Lives Matter’ collection in November.

The films, some from Australia, some international, tell important Indigenous and Black stories, says Wyatt, who’s presenting the two-week season. The collection kicks off on Sunday November 1 with the documentary I am Not Your Negro. Others in the line-up include Selma, which chronicles the epic march from the town of Selma to Montgomery, the state capital of Alabama, to demand equal voting rights for African-American people; Australian classic Rabbit-Proof Fence; the multi-award winning film 12 Years a Slave; and Warwick Thornton’s outback Australian drama Sweet Country.

“I think with the talent that is involved with these films, you're not only going to be entertained, but you're also going to get a message that hopefully you connect with as well,” Wyatt says. 

Week 1: Starts Sunday 1 November


I Am Not Your Negro

France, Belgium, United States of America, 2016
Genre: documentary
Language: English
Director: Raoul Peck
Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Harry Belafonte, Ray Charles, James Baldwin
What's it about?

Working from the text of novelist, playwright and activist James Baldwin’s unfinished final novel, director Raoul Peck creates a meditation on what it means to be Black in the United States. Narrated by actor Samuel L. Jackson, the documentary chronicles Baldwin’s fight against racism, ignorance and power.

Documentary 'I Am Not Your Negro' proves writer James Baldwin's views on racism in America are as relevant as ever


Do the Right Thing

USA, 1989
Genre: Drama, Comedy, Crime
Language: English
Director: Spike Lee
Starring: Spike Lee, Danny Aiello, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Richard Edson, Giancarlo Esposito
What's it about?
On the hottest day of the year on a street in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, everyone's hate and bigotry smoulders and builds until it explodes into violence. Spike Lee's breakthrough film remains sharply relevent today: as violence escalates, white police place one Black man in a chokehold and he is left lying dead on the street.

Do the Right Thing review: A remarkable achievement



USA, 2009
Genre: Drama
Language: [language]
Director: Lee Daniels
Starring: Bill Sage, Lenny Kravitz, Paula Patton, Mo'Nique
What's it about?
Set in Harlem in 1987,  the film follows Precious (Gabourey Sidibe), who has endured unimaginable hardships in her young life. She's pregnant for the second time to her abusive father; at home she must wait hand and foot on a poisonously angry mother. In these conditions she grows up poor, angry, illiterate, fat, unloved and generally unnoticed. But underneath her impassive expression is a watchful, curious young woman with an inchoate but unshakeable sense that other possibilities exist for her.

'Precious' whips up a firestorm
Precious Review
Why You Should Watch: Precious


12 Years a Slave

USA, 2013
Genre: Drama
Language: English
Director: Steve McQueen
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Paul Giamatti, Brad Pitt, Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Lupita Nyong'o
What's it about?
A free man from upstate New York is abducted and sold into slavery in the Deep South. Facing cruelty from his owner, Solomon (Chiwetel Ejiofor) struggles to stay alive, and to retain his dignity. Inspired by the true story of Solomon Northup.

'12 Years a Slave:' an American story unearthed by British filmmaker
In '12 Years a Slave,' all eyes on actor Chiwetel Ejiofor
12 Years A Slave Review
'12 Years a Slave': Interview
'12 Years a Slave' makes history with best picture Oscar



USA, 2017
Genre: Drama
Language: English
Director: Reginald Hudlin
Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Josh Gad, Kate Hudson, Sterling K. Brown
What's it about?
The late Chadwick Boseman plays Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American Supreme Court Justice, as he battles through one of his career-defining cases. 



USA, 2014
Genre: History, Drama
Language: English
Director: Ava DuVernay
Starring: David Oyelowo, Tom Wilkinson, Carmen Ejogo, Tim Roth, Oprah Winfrey, Giovanni Ribisi, Alessandro Nivola, Cuba Gooding Jr.
What's it about?
Selma is the chronicle of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s campaign to obtain equal voting rights for African-American people. In 1965, King (David Oyelowo) organised an epic march from the town of Selma to Montgomery, the state capital of Alabama. The march ended in violence, but the campaign subsequently led to President Lyndon B. Johnson (Tom Wilkinson) signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The film was produced by Oprah Winfrey, who also plays the role of Civil Rights activist Annie Lee Cooper.

Selma Review
'Selma's' Ava DuVernay: 'Studios Aren't Lining Up for Black Protagonists'


Week two (NAIDOC Week): starts Sunday 8 November


Burn Motherf***er, Burn!

MA 15+
USA, 2017
Genre: Documentary
Language: English
Director: Sacha Jenkins
Starring: Danny Bakewell Sr., Karen Bass, Charlie Beck, Jeff Chang, Perry Farrell, Everlast, B-Real
What's it about?
An in-depth look at the 1992 Los Angeles riots exploring the roots of civil unrest in California and the relationship between African Americans and LAPD.


Sweet Country

Australia, 2018
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?
It’s 1929 on the vast, desert-like, Eastern Arrernte Nation lands that are now known as the Central Australian outback. Sam Kelly, a middle-aged Aboriginal man, works the land of a kind preacher, Fred Smith. After an ill-tempered bully arrives in town and Kelly kills him in self-defence, he and his wife go on the run as a posse gathers to hunt him down. Director Warwick Thornton says of the film "If we want to man up, or stand up as a country and move forward, we need to know about our history. The film is completely truthful about history, even though it’s fiction.”

Warwick Thornton talks up his Venice award-winning film, 'Sweet Country'
'Sweet Country' tops APSA Awards with best film win
Warwick Thornton’s 'Sweet Country' comes to SBS World Movies for a special event screening



United States of America, 2017
Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller, History
Language: English
Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Starring: John Boyega, Will Poulter, John Krasinski, Anthony Mackie, Algee Smith, Jason Mitchell, Hannah Murray, Jack Reynor, Ben O'Toole, Jacob Latimore, Kaitlyn Dever, Joseph David-Jones, Ephraim Sykes
What's it about?
A police raid in Detroit in 1967 results in one of the largest citizens' uprisings in the history of the United States. Kathryn Bidelow's film focusses on one tragic event during a summer that saw 167 race riots across the USA. 

Kathryn Bigelow's Sweeping, Scalding Detroit Riots Drama 'Detroit'


LISTEN: Anthony Mackie and Will Poulter talk 'Detroit' 




Rabbit-Proof Fence

Australia, 2002
Genre: History, Adventure
Director: Phillip Noyce
Starring: Evelyn Sampi, Laura Monaghan, Tianna Sansbury, Deborah Mailman, David Gulpilil, Roy Billing, Kenneth Branagh, Jason Clarke 
What's it about?
Based on the true story of three young Aboriginal girls, Molly, Gracie and Daisy (Evelyn Sampi, Laura Monaghan, Tianna Sansbury): in 1931 they were forcibly removed from their families at Jigalong WA and taken to a camp 1500 miles away at Moore River to be trained as domestic servants, all part of official Government policy. Molly leads her younger sister and cousin on a daring escape and a bid to find her way home, following – on foot – the rabbit-proof fence that cuts across the Gibson Desert and towards Jigalong. But WA’s Chief protector of Aborigines, A.O. Neville (Kenneth Branagh) does his best to recapture them, with help from black tracker David Moodoo (David Gulpilil).  

Rabbit-Proof Fence Review
Rabbit-Proof Fence: Cheat Sheet

Looking for more? Explore the Black Lives Matter collection at SBS On Demand

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