SBS On Demand Head of Editorial Fiona Williams names a few of the films debuting at SBS On Demand this month.
7 Jun 2021 - 2:27 PM  UPDATED 10 Jun 2021 - 10:05 AM



United States of America, 2018
Genre: Drama
Language: English
Director: Paul Dano
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Carey Mulligan, Ed Oxenbould, Zoe Colletti, Bill Camp, Travis W Bruyer, Tom Huston Orr, Darryl Cox, Ginger Gilmartin, Michael Gibbons, Mollie Milligan
What's it about?
Many people missed this film during its limited run in Australian cinemas in the back half of 2018, but it's newly arrived at SBS On Demand so that everyone can right that wrong. Paul Dano makes his feature directing debut with a story of family, feminism, and... forest fires, in the 1960s. Dano co-wrote the script with Zoe Kazan, and brings out excellent performances across the board, from Carey Mulligan, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Australian Ed Oxenbould. The latter plays Mulligan and Gyllenhaal's teenage son, who watches on as his retrenched dad experiences a crisis of confidence and goes off to fight fires, just as his mum finds her spark and becomes the family breadwinner.  



Macadam Stories

France, 2015
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Language: French
Director: Samuel Benchetrit
Starring: Isabelle Huppert, Gustave Kervern, Tassadit Mandi, Jules Benchetrit, Michael Pitt, Valeria Bruni‑Tedeschi
What's it about?
A building in a housing project in Paris. One broken-down elevator. Three encounters between six characters. In the strange beauty of a cold urban landscape, a stingy old man in a wheelchair goes on a moonlit escapade to meet a lonely night nurse. A troubled actress in decline sparks the fascination of a latchkey teen. And an American astronaut jettisoned from space onto a high-rise rooftop is taken in by a doting mother who speaks no English.



Out of the Furnace

USA, 2013
Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller
Language: English
Director: Scott Cooper
Starring: Sam Shepard, Willem Dafoe, Casey Affleck, Christian Bale, Woody Harrelson, Zoe Saldana, Forest Whitaker
What's it about?
Before he penned the 2021 TV hit Mare of Easttown, creator/writer Brad Ingelsby wrote the screenplay of this gritty thriller about brotherly bonds and seething revenge. An ex-con (Christian Bale) returns home to discover that his brother (Casey Affleck) has disappeared after falling foul of a crime syndicate. The local constabulary lacks the will to pursue the case, so it's up to big brother to get to the bottom of it. Fans of Mare of Easttown will recognise the themes of dark community secrets and residual trauma. 

Out of the Furnace Review


Miss Granny

Philippines, 2014
Genre: Comedy
Language: Filipino
Director: Joyce Bernal
Starring: Nova Villa, Sarah Geronimo, James Reid
What's it about?
In the ultimate wish fulfilment, a septuagenarian unlocks a second chance at her youth when a photo shoot magically transforms her body back to its 20-year-old self. Will she discover that youth is all it's cracked up to be? (And also, where can we get one of those cameras?) This Filipino film is a remake of the wildly successful South Korean film of the same name. It's even touted to get a US remake under Tyler Perry.   



Carmen and Lola

MA 15+
Spain, 2018
Genre: Romance, Drama
Language: Spanish
Director: Arantxa Echevarria
Starring: Rosy Rodriguez, Zaira Morales, Moreno Borja, Rafaela León, Carolina Yuste, Juan José Jiménez
What's it about?
In this culture clash drama set within Madrid's Roma community, Carmen (Rosy Rodriguez) is on the traditional path to marriage and babies, when she comes to realise there's much more to life. She meets, and falls for, big-thinking dreamer Lola (Zaira Morales), a fellow Romani teenager unlike anyone Carmen has ever met. Echevarria, working with a cast of first-time actors, offers a glimpse of the famously private workings of Spain's Roma community, as Carmen and Lola's blossoming relationship places them in direct conflict with their families. 



Ireland, 2019
Genre: Drama
Language: English
Director: Paddy Breathnach
Starring: Sarah Greene, Moe Dunford, Ellie O'Halloran, Ruby Dunne, Darragh Mckenzie, Molly McCann, Killian Coyle
What's it about?
Sarah Greene is brilliant as a young woman trying to keep her family safe as they weather a housing crisis. When her young family is evicted as a result of their landlord selling their rented home, Rosie and her partner make every effort to shield their little family from their own fears and desperation. Greene's performance is reminiscent of Hayley Squires' heartbreaking turn as a mum on the brink, in Ken Loach's I, Daniel Blake. The film, with a script by Roddy Doyle, is honest and authentic, and keeps a focus on those tenuously walking the line between security and poverty. 


The Public

United States of America, 2019
Genre: Drama
Language: English
Director: Emilio Estevez
Starring: Emilio Estevez, Jena Malone, Taylor Schilling, Michael Kenneth Williams, Alec Baldwin, Christian Slater, Gabrielle Union, Jeffrey Wright, Richard T. Jones, Jacob Vargas, Spencer Garrett, Brian Gallagher, Ming Wang, Derek Polen, Rhymefest, Ki Hong Lee
What's it about?
Emilio Estevez famously spent a weekend detention in a high school library as part of the '80s Brat Pack cast of The Breakfast Club. 30+ years later, he directs and stars in this passion project, which uses the public library as a flashpoint of a public housing crisis. He plays the librarian at the Cincinnati Public Library, who becomes a key figure in a tense standoff, when the library is taken over by the city's rough sleepers during an extreme weather event. The drama highlights the too-frequent impulse to criminalise the poor, and disproportionate use of force against a city's disenfranchised and those with mental health issues. 



Belgium, France, Luxembourg, 2018
Genre: War, Drama, History, Thriller, Action
Language: English
Director: Thomas Vinterberg
Starring: Matthias Schoenaerts, Lea Seydoux, Peter Simonischek, August Diehl, Max von Sydow, Colin Firth, Bjarne Henriksen, Magnus Millang, Artemiy Spiridonov, Joel Basman, Pit Bukowski
What's it about?
In August 2000, a Russian naval exercise ends with the sinking of the K-141 Kursk submarine, an event that sends 118 crew members to the bottom of the Barents Sea. A small group of survivors manage to seal themselves off safely, but a would-be international search and rescue mission is hampered by incompetence, mistrust and hubris, when authorities maintain they have it under control. Matthias Schoenaerts brought the story of the real-life maritime disaster to The Hunt and Another Round director Thomas Vinterberg, who specialises in stories of men in crisis.


The Salesman

Iran, 2016
Genre: Drama
Language: Persian
Director: Asghar Farhadi
Starring: Shahab Hosseini, Taraneh Alidoosti
What's it about?
Asghar Farhadi's Oscar winner is another of the Iranian master's trademark examination of Iranian culture, through the prism of a middle-class marriage. After their flat becomes damaged, Emad (Shahab Hosseini) and Rana (Taraneh Alidoosti), a young couple living in Tehran, must move into another apartment. Once relocated, a sudden eruption of violence linked to the previous tenant of their new home dramatically changes their lives, creating a simmering tension between husband and wife.

Still from 'The Salesman'



Australia, Ireland, 2019
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Language: English
Director: Sophie Hyde
Starring: Holliday Grainger, Alia Shawkat, Fra Fee, Dermot Murphy, Amy Molloy, Pat Shortt, Olwen Fouéré, Kwaku Fortune, Elva Trill, Anthony Morris, Jamael Westman, Muiris Crowley, Tara Egan Langley, Ryan Lincoln, Charlie Maher, Zeff Lawless
What's it about?
Search Party's Alia Shawkat is the buzzing BFF of Holliday Grainger in this witty comedy about two 30-somethings running amok in a co-dependent blaze of booze, drugs and belly laughs. Laura and Tyler are joined at the hip until Laura gets engaged, gets serious and sobers up. She doesn't exactly call last drinks on their friendship, but the pair struggle to negotiate this new normal. 


The Sense of an Ending

United Kingdom, 2017
Genre: Mystery, Drama
Language: English
Director: Ritesh Batra
Starring: Jim Broadbent, Charlotte Rampling, Harriet Walter, Michelle Dockery, Matthew Goode, Emily Mortimer, James Wilby, Edward Holcroft, Billy Howle
What's it about?
Just as his daughter is about to give birth, Tony receives a letter from his first love. The contents of the parcel forces him to confront an old secret, and reckon with longstanding regrets. A twisty thriller with fine, restrained performances from Jim Broadbent and Charlotte Rampling, this film is an adaptation of the Booker Prize-winning novel.


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