• The SBS World Movies Summer of Discovery is in full swing. Read on for more recommendations. (SBS World Movies)Source: SBS World Movies
SBS Movies managing editor Fiona Williams offers her pick of the movies coming to SBS World Movies and SBS On Demand this month, as part of the Summer Of Discovery.
6 Dec 2020 - 7:14 PM  UPDATED 21 Jan 2021 - 10:33 AM

Wild Tales

MA 15+
Argentina, 2014
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Thriller
Language: Spanish
Director: Damián Szifron
Starring: Rita Cortese, Ricardo Darín, Liliana Ackerman, Luis Manuel Altamirano García, Alejandro Angelini
What's it about?
Work through some of your residual tension about 2020 with this perfect little set of six raucous and morbidly funny tales about the things we're all capable of when pushed to extremes. I had some genuine laughs out loud with the dark turns taken in Damián Szifron's 2015 International Oscar (aka 'Best Foreign Language Film') nominee. There's a hellish wedding reception clash between a worked-up bride and groom, a grim mid-air realisation for the passengers on a flight, a standoff between a solo diner and a greasy-spoon waitress, and my personal favourite, an homage to Steven Spielberg's Duel, between a motorist and an inconsiderate Audi driver.  

SBS World Movies: 8.30pm, Sunday 20 December
Now streaming at SBS On Demand


Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

USA, 2004
Genre: Drama, Romance
Language: English
Director: Michel Gondry
Starring: Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Kirsten Dunst, Mark Ruffalo, Elijah Wood
What's it about?
Michel Gondry and Charlie Kaufman's melancholic sci-fi romance conceives of a way to avoid the pain and guilt associated with a breakup, by introducing the wild notion of the dumper forcibly erasing the dumpee from their mind. But how do you erase someone from your heart? We see moments of Joel (Jim Carrey) and Clementine (Kate Winslet)'s passionate and volatile relationship, as it rockets towards a sad, weird conclusion. Except we don't see it play out in real time, of course; the scenes are snippets of sad Joel's painful, misguided attempt to cure his broken heart. A sweet tale of yearning that is always worth a rewatch, if only to keep from forgetting its soulfulness.  

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind review: Love story told beautifully and backwards

SBS World Movies: 9.30pm, Monday 14 December *Not available at SBS On Demand after broadcast* 

Far from Men 

France, 2015
Genre: Drama
Language: French, Spanish, Arabic
Director: David Oelhoffen
Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Reda Kateb
What's it about?
A fine two-handed Western about blood feuds and displacement, starring Viggo Mortensen and Reda Kateb. Reliably stoic, Mortensen plays a teacher in a remote Algerian village, tasked with the unenviable job of transporting an Arab prisoner to his trial – and certain death – during the outbreak of the civil war. David Oelhoffen directs this adaptation of Albert Camus' The Visitor with a quiet dignity, set against a score by unconventional Western aficionados Nick Cave and Warren Ellis.

Far From Men review: Algerian war told powerfully through quiet intensity
Far From Men's David Oelhoffen and Warren Ellis on Viggo Mortensen, displacement, and scoring westerns with Nick Cave

SBS World Movies: 7.30pm, Monday 21 December
Now streaming at SBS On Demand 


Lust, Caution

USA, Taiwan, 2007
Genre: Drama, Romance, Thriller, War
Language: Mandarin, Japanese, English 
Director: Ang Lee
Starring: Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Tang Wei, Joan Chen, Lee-Hom Wang
What's it about?
Don't come looking for a history lesson and you'll fare well, watching this sexed-up espionage psychodrama. Ang Lee's follow-up to Brokeback Mountain sees him return to Chinese storytelling and focussing on the dangerous glamour of Japanese-occupied Shanghai during WWII. Staying true to his trademark theme, exploring the tension between 'duty and desire', Lee zeroes in on the complicated tryst between a naive actor-assassin, Wong Chia Chi / Mrs Mak (Tang Wei) and her mark, the calculating, cruel Mr Yee (Tony Leung Chiu Wai). Lee is working from a short story by Eileen Chang but plays up the naked, theatrical cruelty of the union between Mrs Mak and Mr Yee.

SBS World Movies: 8.30pm Sunday, 27 December *Not available at SBS On Demand after broadcast*    


O Brother, Where Art Thou?

USA, 2000
Genre: Comedy, Adventure, Action
Language: English
Director: Joel Coen
Starring: John Turturro, Holly Hunter, Tim Blake Nelson, John Goodman, George Clooney
What's it about?
A loose assemblage of tales 'inspired by' Homer's The Odyssey, this is a Coen brothers' riff on pop cultural depictions of the Depression-era Deep South in a bluegrass-filled fable about three cons on the run. George Clooney channels Cary Grant as the tall tale-spinning Everett Ulysses McGill, a petty criminal eager to make his escape from the chain gang in Mississippi, whose bid for freedom comes with strings – or, rather, shackles – attached: dim Delmar (Tim Blake Nelson) and unpredictable Pete (John Turturro). 

How George Clooney's 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' accent was a family affair

SBS World Movies: 8.30pm, Saturday 2 January *Not available at SBS On Demand after broadcast* 


Things to Come

France, Germany, 2016

Genre: Drama
Language: French, English, German
Director: Mia Hansen-Løve
Starring: Isabelle Huppert, André Marcon, Roman Kolinka, Edith Scob, Sarah Le Picard, Solal Forte
What's it about?
A glorious tale of resilience sees Isabelle Huppert navigate a no-good, very bad, catastrophic year (and no, I don't mean 2020). Circumstances shake Nathalie out of her comfortable life, as in a set of one-two-three punches: her marriage hits the skids, her career is under threat and her ageing mother starts showing inevitable signs of her own mortality. Mia Hansen-Løve's naturalistic technique lets us walk in the strappy strides of Huppert, but with camera angles that subtly hint at the petite actress being dwarfed by the enormity of her existential stocktake. 

Mia Hansen-Løve gets personal in 'Things to Come'

SBS World Movies: 7.30pm, Wednesday 6 January
Now streaming at SBS On Demand


Son of Saul

Hungary, 2015
Genre: Drama, Thriller, War
Language: German, Hungarian, Yiddish
Director: Laszlo Nemes
Starring: Geza Rohrig
What's it about?
The bleak realities of staying alive in Auschwitz are rendered in an unsparing close-up in Laszlo Nemes' 2016 Oscar winner, about the tasks performed by the sonderkommando. They are, of course, the inmates enlisted – as if they have a choice – to perform the grim grunt work of their Nazi captors (welcoming new arrivals to the "shower"; and cleaning the gas chamber recesses of bodies and belongings). From the thousand-yard tunnel vision of Saul (Geza Rohrig), we watch his effort find some moral survival in trying to save the body of a boy he takes for his own son.

Son of Saul review: An unforgettable experience

SBS World Movies: 9.30pm, Tuesday 12 January
Now streaming at SBS On Demand


Ilo Ilo

Singapore, 2013

Genre: Drama
Language: Mandarin
Director: Anthony Chen
Starring: Koh Jia Ler, Angeli Bayani, Tian Wen Chen, Yann Yann Yeo
What's it about?
A really wonderful film about the love and affection shared between children and their live-in carers, based on filmmaker Anthony Chen's own experiences. Nine-year-old Jiale (Koh Jia Ler) is frankly a bit of a shit, but it's not a leap to draw a line between his obnoxious behaviour and the dysfunctional stresses of his distracted, cranky parents. Over the course of several years, we see the influence of the family's new Filipina maid, Teresa / 'Terry' (Angeli Bayani), as she bonds with Jiale. 

Ilo Ilo Review

SBS World Movies: 7.30pm, Wednesday 20 January
Now streaming at SBS On Demand



For more details on SBS World Movies - Summer of Discovery including interviews and reviews click here to head on over to the Summer of Discovery home page.


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