Sydney Pollack was one of the directing greats, and MUBI pays tribute to him this weekend with a double-bill of his 1980s hits. He joins Douglas Sirk in MUBI’s ongoing retrospective of another iconic filmmaker from Hollywood’s history – and balances both out with a series of films from directors you haven’t heard of, from Angela Schanelec, the “best kept secret of the so-called Berlin School of filmmakers”, to the unique Argentine filmmaker Gastón Solnicki, whose non-fiction is fascinated with the everyday territories of the familiar and the familial. And, of course, there’s still a chance to catch from Sofia Coppola, Kathryn Bigelow and Agnès Varda.
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This week on MUBI
Pollack in the 80s: Tootsie – 14th April
Known for his difficult temperament, down-on-his-luck actor Michael Dorsey (Dustin Hoffman) finds work on a trashy daytime soap opera by disguising himself as a woman by the name of Dorothy Michaels.
Douglas Sirk: All That Heaven Allows – 16th April
A melodrama so suffused with emotion, so ripe with sincerity and irony, so bountiful in color and design that it was remade beautifully not only by Fassbinder but also by Todd Haynes. Yet nothing compares to the original: a sublime experience effortlessly blending sweeping story and social critique.
Angela Schanelec: Afternoon – 19th April
MUBI’s series devoted to Angela Schanelec continues with this sun-drenched snapshot of a subtly distraught summer holiday shared between lakeside neighbours. The film generously lets us piece together relationships, family drama and love’s hurt through oblique observation and heart-felt restraint.
The Nothing Factory – 20th April
When management begins to sell off equipment at a factory that makes elevator parts, the workers become nervous about their job security. As they weigh their options, including a strike and a tongue-in-cheek suggestion at an armed response, the workers are forced to continue showing up at work.
Other new releases on MUBI
Many greeted Sofia Coppola’s provocatively anachronistic follow-up to her Lost in Translation success with bafflement. With time, both the audacity of her pink punk period piece and her compassionate evocation of a woman under extreme circumstances has proven at once riotous, charming and enduring.
Pollack in the 80s: Absence of Malice
Sydney Pollack has directed some of the most gripping political films of his era, and thus we open his double bill with this incisive inquiry into the power of the free press. Irresistibly unpredictable storytelling weaves a web of intrigue around two true originals: Sally Field & Paul Newman.
Takeshi Kitano is best known internationally for his hyper-masculine yakuza films, yet belying his tough exterior is a tender and even romantic soul. Dolls unleashes this disposition in a free-form experimental love story resplendent with great feeling, mystery, and of course, hard earned cynicism.
Gastón Solnicki: Kékszakállú
Its title may be impossible to remember, but its images are impossible to forget. Gastón Solnicki’s third feature boasts a magnetic, drifting beauty as it navigates privilege in an exquisite choreography of bodies and spaces that feels at once meticulously orchestrated and remarkably alive.
Gastón Solnicki: Papirosen
An inquiry into the pervasive memory of World War II and its many effects on Jewish identity, Papirosen finds the uniquely talented Gastón Solnicki avoiding the usual faults of self-portraits. The result is a graceful consideraion of post-war Jewish identity and the collective memory of a family.
Douglas Sirk: Magnificent Obsession
Reckless playboy Bob Merrick (Rock Hudson) crashes his speedboat, requiring emergency attention from the town’s only resuscitator while Dr. Phillips dies waiting for the life-saving device. Merrick then tries to right his wrongs with the doctor’s widow, Helen—falling in love with her in the process.
Douglas Sirk: All I Desire
In 1900, Naomi Murdoch deserted her small-town family to go on the stage. Some ten years later, daughter Lily invites Naomi back to see her in the Riverdale high school play.
Wes Anderson’s 1996 debut, co-written with Owen Wilson, follows three best friends, who stage a robbery of a bookstore. Silly, warm and whimsy? That’s Wes, alright.
As You Are
Winner of the Special Jury Award at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, this revives the existential purgatory that was the 90s for a complicated interrogation of youth and sexuality amidst the confused decade.
Cafe de Flore
Before Wild, Big Little Lies and Dallas Buys Club, French-Canadian director Jean-Marc Vallée made this delicate 2012 gem – a tragic, euphoric, ingeniously structured love story starring Vanessa Paradis.
Directed by Women: Strange Days
Before The Hurt Locker and the realism period that followed, Kathryn Bigelow was known for darkly stylized efforts in genre, of which Strange Days stands at the fore. Uncanny political predictions, a timely original soundtrack, and perfect aesthetics altogether form a zenith of 90s American culture.
Directed by Women: Ishtar
Famous for ending the career of its director, Elaine May’s screwball bromance was a flop when released, but it’s time for the comedy to be reevaluated. It sars Warrenn Beatty and Dustin Hoffman astTwo terrible lounge singers get booked to play a gig in a Moroccan hotel but somehow become pawns in an international power play between the CIA, the Emir of Ishtar, and the rebels trying to overthrow his regime.
Directed by Women: Documenteur
Made during Agnès Varda’s brief stay in Los Angeles in the early 1980s, this small-scale fiction traces the alienation of a recent divorceé newly arrived in L.A. with her young son (played by Varda’s own son). This meditative portrait of urban isolation overflows with subtle visual poetry.
Directed by Women: Diary for My Children
Ildikó Enyedi is not the first outstanding female cinematic voice to come out of Hungary. We’re proud to present the pioneering, legendary Márta Mészáros with this autobiographical coming-of-age story in the Stalinist era—a superb reflection on the crossover between the personal and the historical.
Directed by Women: Caramel
Lebanese director Nadine Labaki made quite a splash with her sensual, funny debut film, winning acclaim that began with its premiere at Cannes and only gathered more force. Labaki is one to watch: a triple threat, she wrote, directed and starred in this charming ode to female friendship.
Godard and the Dziga Vertov Group: Vladimir and Rosa
MUBI concludes its Godard season with this 1970 interpretation of the Chicago Eight trial, where Judge Hoffman becomes Judge Himmler (who doodles notes on Playboy centerfolds), the defendants become a microcosms of the French Revolution, and Godard and Gorin play Lenin and Karl Rosa, respectively, discussing politics and cinema.
Godard and the Dziga Vertov Group: Wind from the East
MUBI continues its Dziga Vertov Group series with this oddball Marxist western playfully set against a pastoral backdrop and featuring Anne Wiazemsky and Gian Maria Volonté. With a propagandist voice-over and characters breaking the fourth wall, Godard and Gorin dismantle the idea of cinema as entertainment.
As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Glimpses of Beauty
Is there a more prolific and passionate filmmaker than Jonas Mekas? MUBI partners with the Serpentine Galleries and the Lithuanian Institute to bring you one of the avant-garde pioneer’s landmarks, a home movie epic, a monument to intimacy—and a strong contender for most evocative film title ever.
Angela Schanelec: Passing Summer
MUBI begins a retrospective of under-seen contemporary director Angela Schanelec with a tenderly enigmatic drama that reveals a group of friends, family and lovers dispersed yet connected as people yearning for fulfilment.
Marseille describes an interlude in the life of young Berlin photographer Sophie. Wanting a change, Sophie does an apartment swap, so she can go photograph the city of Marseille, and most of all get away from Berlin.
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Last chance to stream: Titles leaving MUBI soon
Available until end of: 13th April
Available until end of: 14th April
The Battle of Algiers
Available until end of: 15th April
By the Time It Gets Dark
Available until end of: 16th April
Struggle in Italy
Available until end of: 17th April
Available until end of: 18th April
Available until end of: 19th April
The Night I Swam
Available until end of: 20th April
Available until end of: 21st April
Available until end of: 22nd April