And now for something completely different. MUBI heads to Japan this week for a double-bill of work by TV comedian turned director Hitoshi Matsumoto, whose career is defined by his strangely inspired and giddily irreverent attitude to genre.
What’s new, coming soon and leaving soon on the subscription streaming service? This is your weekly MUBI Digest:
This week on MUBI
Symbol – 8th July
One man (Matsumoto!) is trapped in a room; another, a Mexican wrestler, starts his day. Only pure ingenuity could connect them together. Read our full review
Scabbard Samurai – 9th July
Matsumoto returns to deconstructing genre expectations with this goofball chambara (swordplay movie). The scenario forces gag after gag, as our hero attempts to escape harakiri.
Cries and Whispers – 12th July
Winner of an Oscar for the extraordinary color photography of Sven Nykvist, this existential wail of a drama is one of Bergman’s most striking formal experiments. Two sisters, keeping vigil for a third, who is dying of cancer and can find solace only in the arms of a beatific servant.
Other new releases on MUBI
Xavier Dolan’s sophomore effort from 2010 follows best friends Francis and Marie. One day, the gorgeous Nicolas walks into a Montreal coffee shop and the two friends, instantly and equally infatuated, compete for his indeterminate affections. The conflict climaxes when the trio visit the vacation home of Nicolas’ mother.
To Die Like A Man
Tonia, a veteran of Lisbon’s drag shows, faces competition from younger artists, which threatens her star status. Under pressure from her young boyfriend Rosário to assume her female identity, and get a sex change operation, Tonia struggles against her deeply-held religious convictions. A vibrant melodrama from João Pedro Rodrigues, one of Portugal’s great filmmakers and a powerful force in new queer cinema.
Guided by a buoyant joie de vivre, this documentary traces the adversity of homophobia faced by 12 amiable subjects. With great energy and insight, the film charts through conversation France’s sexual liberation: the battles won thus far, and the many rights which remain to be fought for.
The Raspberry Reich
A film about modern left Germans adopting the culture of extreme left-wing movements of the 1970s, as a group of terrorists kidnap a wealthy banker’s son.
MUBI’s Ingmar Bergman retrospective continues with yet another classic. With the radical Persona, the supreme artist attained new levels of visual poetry. A nurse is put in charge of an actress who no longer speaks and finds that the actress’ persona is melding with hers.
MUBI’s Special Discovery series, which hand-picks films from festivals around the world, follows Emanuel, a young writer in 1937, who is committed to a sanatorium on the Black Sea coast for treatment. He reads, he writes, he smokes, he drinks and he romances. As he gets accustomed to the sadness of his new life, Emanuel discovers that there is still a life to be lived to the fullest.
I Am Self-Sufficient
MUBI kicks off a triple-bill of Moretti’s little-seen early comedies. Shot on Super 8, this debut feature already boasts a perfect balance between autobiography, social commentary and satire, launching what would become the Moretti touch. Also included: Ecce Bombo, Golden Dreams.
The disparate lives of shell-shocked soldier Ali, medical student Mehdi and bride Ahlaam — whose fiancé was kidnapped by Saddam Hussein’s forces on their wedding day — converge in a psychiatric hospital in Mohamed Al-Daradji’s drama.
After being double-crossed and left for dead, a mysterious man named Walker single-mindedly tries to retrieve the rather inconsequential sum of money that was stolen from him in John Boorman’s action triller.
Hot on the heels of its cinema release, Andrew Kotting’s latest experimental documentary arrives exclusively on MUBI. The 60-minute-and-66-second feature film is inspired by a walk from Waltham Abbey in Essex via Battle Abbey to St Leonards-on-Sea in East Sussex – a pilgrimage carried out in memory of Edith Swan Neck.
3:10 to Yuma
Glenn Ford stars in Delmer Daves’ iconic western, which sees outlaw leader Ben Wade captured in a small town, only for small-time rancher Dan Evans to agree to take him in secret to the nearest town with a railway station to await the train to the court at Yuma. The only problem? Wade’s gang are on the move to get their leader back. Moral ambiguity and serious action make for one of the great entries in the genre.
MUBI’s Ingmar Bergman retrospective continues with the 1957 drama that catapulted Bergman to international acclaim. Through flashback sequences, fantasies and dreams, a professor goes on a voyage of self-reflection and discovery. In doing so, he muses on the success and failures of his past, while finding peace in his impending death.
Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill are on excellent form in this drama about unsuccessful baseball prodigy Billy Beane (Pitt), who becomes the manager of the Oakland A’s – and comes up with a radical way to build a better team using maths. (Read our full review.)
The Seventh Seal
Disillusioned and exhausted after a decade of battling in the Crusades, a knight (Max von Sydow) encounters Death on a desolate beach and challenges him to a fateful game of chess. Much studied, imitated, even parodied, but never outdone, Ingmar Bergman’s masterpiece is a stunning allegory of man’s search for meaning.
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Last chance to stream: Titles leaving MUBI soon
Summer with Monika
Available until end of: 8th July
Oleg and the Rare Arts
Available until end of: 9th July
Available until end of: 10th July
Available until end of: 11th July
From What Is Before
Available until end of: 12th July
The Boy from Geita
Available until end of: 13th July