Biography

From revolutionary philosophers to fashion heavy weights, see the personal histories of those who’ve left their mark on the modern world.

My Year With Helen

The story of an exceptional woman: New Zealand's first elected female Prime Minister, Helen Clark, and her campaign to become United Nations' first ever-female Secretary-General

Afterimage

The final film by Polish master Andrzej Wajda (1926-2016) is an illuminating biopic of charismatic dissident artist Wladyslaw Strzeminski.

Final Portrait

Geoffrey Rush is outstanding as the artist Alberto Giacometti in this amusing comedy about his efforts to paint a portrait of an old friend, played by Armie Hammer.

The Young Karl Marx

Alongside his film I Am Not Your Negro, playing at SFF this year, director Raoul Peck created this rigorous and fascinating biopic of Karl Marx and the beginnings of communism.

Beuys: Art as a Weapon

The life and work of iconoclast Joseph Beuys, a revolutionary German artist of the 1970s and ‘80s, celebrated for his artworks, performances and politics.

Big Time

Much sought-after Danish architect Bjarke Ingels (one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People) embarks on his most ambitious project yet, NYC’s new World Trade Center, in this energetic documentary.

Citizen Jane: Battle for the City

The Jane in question is author and activist Jane Jacobs and her fight was to preserve New York’s historic neighbourhoods in the 1960s – a battle no less pertinent today.

Dries

A year with fashion designer Dries Van Noten, rich with details of his fabulously innovative collections, from studio to catwalk, as well as his private life.

An Insignificant Man

A captivating portrait of political leader Arvind Kejriwal, aka “The Bernie Sanders of India”, filmed over one extremely eventful year as he seeks to disrupt Indian politics.

It's Not Yet Dark

The passionate story, narrated by Colin Farrell, of a young Irish filmmaker tragically diagnosed with motor neurone disease (ALS) yet fiercely determined to continue his career.

McLaren

The incredible true story of the man behind one of the greatest brands in international motorsport, Bruce McLaren: the humble New Zealander who became a superstar of 1960s Formula One.

Mifune: The Last Samurai

A documentary portrait of Kurosawa's muse, Toshiro Mifune, who reinvented the modern movie samurai hero. Narrated by Keanu Reeves.

A Modern Man

Young, handsome, immensely rich, a virtuoso violinist and a Hugo Boss model: meet the man who appears to have everything, in this surprisingly charming documentary.

Risk

Filmed over six years, Laura Poitras's follow-up to her Oscar winning Citizenfour, is an arresting portrait of controversial WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Winnie

Winner of Best Director Award at the Sundance Film Festival, this is a fascinating portrait of South Africa's 'mother of the nation' Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

Chavela

The uncompromising life story of openly lesbian Latin American singer Chavela Vargas - an inspiration for director Pedro Almodóvar and others - is revealed for the first time.

The Go-Betweens: Right Here

The intensely passionate, creative and fraught set of relationships that formed one of the most loved bands in Australian rock history is explored in this classy documentary.

Whitney ‘Can I Be Me'

A gripping documentary on the all-too-short life of powerhouse performer Whitney Houston from UK documentarian Nick Broomfield and music video director Rudi Dolezal.

76 Minutes and 15 Seconds with Abbas Kiarostami

A touching portrait of the legendary Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami, who died in July 2016, crafted by his friend and collaborator, photographer Seifollah Samadian.

The Filth and the Fury

The Sex Pistols tell their own story in Julien Temple's inspired reply to his own film, The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle, made 20 years previously.

The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle

Julien Temple's classic 1980 fictional documentary presents the spectacular rise and disintegration of the Sex Pistols as an elaborate swindle orchestrated by manager Malcolm McLaren.