MUBI counts down to this year’s Academy Awards on Sunday 26th February with a week dedicated to Oscar winners over the years. Charting a course through the golden statue’s history, the result takes us from Gandhi through to Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
And, if you can’t find it in a cinema near you, there’s still the chance to see Damien Manivel’s The Park on MUBI, the first of its series of exclusive Discoveries from some of cinema’s hottest new filmmakers.
Here’s what’s new, coming soon and leaving soon on MUBI:
This week on MUBI
Oscars Week: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon – 25th February
Ang Lee’s 2000 martial arts flick (about a thief stealing a treasured sword) is more tender character piece than breathtaking action, something that makes his introduction to the wuxia genre for western audiences all the more dazzling. An epic of whispered poetry, its wirework and nighttime sequences are unlike anything many had seen before, always using its stunts to further its characters, with each blow from veteran warriors Shu Lien (Michelle Yeoh) and Li Mu Bai (Chow Yun Fat) a gesture of unspoken emotion.
Oscars Week: As Good As It Gets – 26th February
Jack Nicholson is on cantankerous form in James L Brooks’ 1997 rom-com. The film follows misanthropic writer Melvin Udall, who, after his homosexual neighbour is brutally beaten, is entrusted with the care of their dog – and, on top of everything, finds himself falling for Carol (Helen Hunt), a single mother and waitress with whom he has a difficult relationship. Both stars took home acting awards at the Oscars.
Branded to Kill – 27th February
MUBI pays tribute to the late Japanese director Seijun Suzuki with his 1967 classic. A hitman, with a fetish for sniffing boiling rice, fumbles his latest job, putting him into conflict with his treacherous wife, with a mysterious woman eager for death and with the phantom-like hit-man known only as Number One. The result is a cool slice of yakuza action, which influenced such directors as Tarantino and Jarmusch.
The Man Who Would Be King – 28th February
John Huston’s adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s famous short story tells the story of Daniel Dravot and Peachy Carnahan, two ex-soldiers in India when it was under British rule. They decide that the country is too small for them, so they head off to Kafiristan in order to become Kings in their own right.
Other new releases on MUBI
Oscars Week: Gandhi
MUBI kicks off a week dedicated to the Oscars with Richard Attenborough’s landmark historical biopic. As intimate as it is epic, the film presents the major turning points in the life of beloved Indian leader, played by Ben Kingsley, whose protest against British rule over his country became internationally renowned.
Oscars Week: The Greatest Show on Earth
When circus manager Brad Braden engages The Great Sebastian, his girlfriend Holly is knocked from her starring trapeze spot. And so begins a dangerous game of one-upmanship in the ring. Cecil. B Demille’s 1952 showbiz epic is the stuff that Hollywood magic is made of, with its daring set-pieces and sweeping romanticism, not to mention its cast of names, from Jimmy Stewart and Gloria Grahame to Charlton Heston.
Oscars Week: Investigation of a Citizen Above Superstition
A chief of detectives, homicide section, commits a murder and deliberately leaves clues to prove his own responsibility for the crime in Elio Petri’s Oscar-winning drama, which asks a daring question: is there such thing as a man so powerful he would never be suspected of guilt? Come for the answer, stay for Ennio Morricone’s soundtrack.
Oscars Week: Kramer vs Kramer
Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay. It might be easier to count the Oscars that Robert Benton’s film didn’t win. Dustin Hoffman plays Ben, an ad man with a perfect life in New York – until his wife, Joanna (Meryl Streep), says that he’s leaving him, putting their son, Billy, and us in the middle of the fallout. This moving classic is the quintessential portrait of American divorce in the 1970s.
Oscars Week: Closely Watched Trains
Jiří Menzel’s Czech New Wave masterpiece won the Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award in 1968. But this is an understated affair miles away from the grandeur of the Oscars, as it follows a bumbling dispatcher’s apprentice at a village railway station in occupied Czechoslovakia, who longs to liberate himself from his virginity.
Oscars Week: Sense and Sensibility
Ang Lee’s take on Sense and Sensibility features a stellar script from Emma Thompson, who also joins an impressive cast that includes Kate Winslet, Tom Wilinson, Hugh Grant and – most importantly – Alan Rickman in a hat as Colonel Brandon.
The People vs Larry Flynt
As the 67th Berlinale draws to a close, MUBI takes us back to Milos Forman’s classic, which took home the festival’s top prize in 1996. Larry Flynt is the hedonistically obnoxious, but indomitable, publisher of Hustler magazine. The film recounts his struggle to make an honest living publishing his porn magazine and how it changes into a battle to protect the freedom of speech for all people.
Lovers undo a hairdresser from Beverly Hills around 1968 Election Eve in Hal Ashby’s 1975 comedy. The young and beautiful Warren Beatty and Goldie Hawn, with the late Carrie Fisher appearing in her first screen role. The result is a hilarious sex farce, with Beatty on gorgeous form. “I don’t fuck anybody for money,” he says at one point. “I do it for the fun.”
The Park (Le Parc)
Summer time. A teenage boy and girl have their first date in a park. Hesitant and shy at first, they soon discover each other, get closer as they wander, and end up falling in love. But as the sun goes down, it is time to part… And a dark night begins. MUBI’s exclusive acquisition is in cinemas as well as on MUBI.
Picnic at Hanging Rock
When it comes to dramas about disappearing people, Peter Weir’s 1975 is an unrivalled classic. Eerie and understated in equal measure, the film follows a party of girls from a strict boarding school, who go on an outing to nearby landmark Hanging Rock on a St. Valentine’s Day – only for part of the group vanish without explanation.
Harold Ramis’ comedy about a weatherman who finds himself reliving the same day over and over again is funny, sweet, profound and features a superb central turn from Bill Murray. A verifiable classic that gets better every time you watch it. (Read our full review)
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Last chance to stream: Titles leaving MUBI soon
Available until end of: 25th February
The Last Vacation
Available until end of: 26th February
Rachel Getting Married
Available until end of: 27th February
Available until end of: 28th February
Bunny Lake Is Missing
Available until end of: 1st March
Picnic at Hanging Rock
Available until end of: 2nd March
Available until end of: 3rd March
Available until end of: 4th March
The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears
Available until end of: 5th March
Available until end of: 6th March