Biopics: an international feast online at Kanopy and Beamafilm

Have you run out of books? We can help with a fabulous selection of biopics to entertain and educate. You can access these films through our online movie streaming platforms Kanopy and Beamafilm. Just sign in with your Wellington City Libraries card and PIN.

The Oxford English Dictionary (which incidentally is also available through our online e-resources here) define biopic as “a biographical film, esp. one dramatizing the life of a public or historical figure”. Check our selection of fabulous international biopics below:

“It’s 1948, and the Cold War has reached Chile. Following a ban on communism, Chilean poet-diplomat Pablo Neruda is forced into hiding. Beloved by the populace, he slips underground and is pursued by incompetent, vainglorious police inspector Oscar Peluchonneau, hoping to make a name for himself by capturing the country’s most infamous fugitive.

Blending visual grandeur and literary wit, Neruda is a beguiling reinvention of the ‘standard’ cinematic biography. Playfully confounding expectations at every turn, the film offers a startling rumination on the split between the person and persona, the man and the artist. 2017 Golden Globe nominee, Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language. Winner of the next bill of Best Actor and the Cine Latino Award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival.” ( Adapted from Beamafilm)

A Royal Affair
“Denmark, 1766, Caroline Mathilde is married to the mad and politically ineffectual King Christian VII. When the King returns from a tour of Europe accompanied by Struensee, his new personal physician, Queen Caroline finds an unexpected ally within the kingdom. The attraction between the two is initially one of shared ideals and philosophy, but it soon turns into a passionate and clandestine affair.

Committed to the ideals of the Enlightenment that are banned in Denmark, Struensee convinces the King to assert his previously untapped power to remove the conservative political council and implement drastic changes to Danish society. As the Court plot their return to power and the downfall of the Queen and Struensee, the consequences of their affair are made clear and the entire nation will be changed forever.” (Adapted from Kanopy)¬† A Royal Affair is also available as a DVD from our collection.

Maya Angelou: And still I rise
“Distinctly referred to as “a redwood tree, with deep roots in American culture,” Dr. Maya Angelou (April 4, 1928-May 28, 2014) led a prolific life. As a singer, dancer, activist, poet and writer, she inspired generations with lyrical modern African-American thought that pushed boundaries.

With unprecedented access, filmmakers Bob Hercules and Rita Coburn Whack trace Dr. Angelou’s incredible journey, shedding light on the untold aspects of her life through never-before-seen footage, rare archival photographs and videos and her own words.” (Kanopy)

Southside with You
“On a summer’s day in 1989, a young law associate named Barack Obama used all his charms to woo attorney Michelle Robinson. From executive producer John Legend comes this uplifting romantic movie based on the real-life first date between the future First Couple.” (Kanopy)

Southside with You is also available as a DVD to borrow from our collection.

Yellow is Forbidden
“A modern-day Cinderella story where the brave, diminutive and daring heroine’s dream doesn’t end at the ball. Guo Pei is chasing every designer’s fantasy to become part of the exclusive yet savage world of Haute Couture.

It’s an unprecedented story, taking the viewer inside the world where Guo Pei creates magic: a 50kg dress so heavy Guo Pei has to consider a gymnast not a model to walk the runway, a gown spun by 300 embroiderers, precious gold material printed with centuries-old Swiss fresco. All from a woman who learnt her craft at Number 2 Light Industrial School after the reign of Mao Tse Tung.” (Beamafilm)

Yellow is Forbidden is also available as a DVD to borrow from our collection.

The Motorcycle Diaries
“In 1952, two young Argentines, Ernesto Guevara and Alberto Granado, set out on a road trip to discover the real Latin America. Ernesto is a 23-year-old medical student specializing in leprology, and Alberto, 29, is a biochemist. The film follows the young men as they unveil the rich and complex human and social topography of the Latin American continent.” (Kanopy)

The Motorcycle Diaries is also available as a DVD to borrow from our collection.

A Fortunate Life
“At eight years old, an impoverished Bert Facey was forced to start the backbreaking, dawn-to-dusk life of a farm labourer. Unschooled, his father dead, abandoned by his mother, by the age of twenty he had survived the rigours of pioneering the harsh Australian bush and the slaughter of the bloody WWI campaign at Gallipoli. Adapted from A.B. Facey’s best-selling autobiographical novel, this is the extraordinary tale of an ordinary Aussie battler, and remains one of the great Australian miniseries.” (Beamafim)

You can also read the original book the DVD mini series was adapted from, or listen the original book as a Book on CD.