MUBI continues its new season dedicated to Chinese director Lou Ye this week. In a country which regularly censors its most defiant artists, he is one of the foremost cinematic iconoclasts, resisting the nation’s moral and political criteria in the name of giving voice to the oppressed, and those who choose to boldly defy the state.
His work joins handpicked highlights from last year’s Locarno Festival, a spotlight on new Canadian filmmakers and more curated favourites from Paul Schrader (to mark the release of First Reformed).
What’s new, coming soon and leaving soon on the subscription service? This is your weekly MUBI Digest:
This week on MUBI
Lou Ye: Love and Bruises – 18th August
The 3rd film in MUBI’s Lou Ye retro was made during the director’s exile for having made Summer Palace. It follows Hua, who, exiled in Paris, wanders between her tiny apartment and the university, drifting between former lovers and recent French acquaintances. She meets Matthieu, a young worker who falls madly in love with her. Possessed by an insatiable desire for her body, he treats her like a dog.
Paul Schrader Picks: T-Men – 19th August
Dennis O’Brien (Dennis O’Keefe) and Tony Genaro (Alfred Ryder) are Treasury agents (“T-Men”) who go undercover in Detroit and then Los Angeles, in an attempt to break a US currency counterfeiting ring.
“I chose this film for one reason: John Alton, an absolutely legendary cinematographer. He is a grand master of light and shadow, and film noir – there are many things you could say about this movie, but it’s just a marvel to watch.”
Machete – 20th August
Machete, a legendary ex-federal officer, is left for dead after clashing with notorious Mexican drug kingpin Torrez. He escapes to Texas, trying to forget his past. But what he finds is a web of corruption that leaves a bullet in a senator and Machete a wanted man.
Tell Me the Story of All These – 21st August
Tell me the Story Of all These Things is an accumulation of several narrative threads drawing together intimate conversations between the artist and her two sisters, ominous animated visions of a metamorphosing body, e-learning training on Prevent, and staged, performed gestures.
Paul Schrader Picks: Listen to Britain – 22nd August
A depiction of life in wartime England during the Second World War. Director Humphrey Jennings visits many aspects of civilian life and of the turmoil and privation caused by the war, all without narration.
“Humphrey Jennings brought something very new to documentaries with this film, and he did this film at a low point for Britain – yet it is absolutely full of originality and full of humanity.”
Mass for Shut-Ins – 23rd August
Twentysomething Kay Jay sleeps on his grandfather Loppers’ couch. Bored, Kay Jay plays with fire, aimlessly wanders through the night, encounters strangers and gets hassled by September, his aggro delinquent brother.
The Andromeda Strain – 24th August
Chilling tale about a US research satellite carrying a deadly extraterrestrial microscopic organism that crashes into a small town in Arizona. A group of top scientists are hurriedly assembled in a bid to identify and contain the lethal stowaway.
Other new releases on MUBI
A Cambodian Spring
A Cambodian Spring charts the chaotic and violent wave of change shaping modern-day Cambodia, and follows three activists over six years as they speak out against the injustices taking place all around them in the name of progress, development and democracy.
A chance meeting sets 25-year-old Portuguese Rastafarian Djon África on the track of his roots in Cape Verde. He hopes to finally find his father, an adventurer whom he doesn’t know. But things never go as planned in life – and particularly in this charming search for Djon’s identity.
The Last Emperor
MUBI marks the UK release of Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda with a string of films scored by the composer. Bernardo Bertolucci’s Oscar-winning biopic traces the life of Pu Yi, the last of the great emperors of China, from his ascent to the throne at age three, in 1908, to the time he was imprisoned in the Forbidden City, witnessing decades of cultural and political upheaval.
The Sheltering Sky
MUBI marks the UK release of Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda with a string of films scored by the composer. Bertolucci’s The Sheltering Sky is a scenic adaptation of Paul Bowles’ existential novel about an American couple (Debra Winger and John Malkovich), traveling through North Africa in hopes of rekindling their long-strained marriage, only to find further alienation in their post-colonial dalliances.
Paul Schrader Picks: I Am Cuba
Four episodes chronicle Cuba’s ascent from colonialist degradation and totalitarian rule of Batista’s regime to a revolution that spreads across the country’s classes and regional lines. Read our full review
Paul Schrader Picks: My Man Godfrey
Irene, an eccentric, wealthy Manhattanite, wins a society-ball scavenger hunt after finding a “forgotten man”—an apparent down-and-out drifter—at a dump. She hires him as the family butler and soon falls for him, driving her to to both woo Godfrey and indoctrinate him in the household’s dysfunction.
The link between cinema and magic has been there from the start. Joining forces with Edward Norton (terrific, of course) and the lovely Jessica Biel, Neil Burger scored a transporting sleeper hit, part mystery, part thriller, part romance, a classical tale that hooks our fascination for tricks.
Cape Fear (1962)t
Fourteen years ago Sam was a public defender assigned to Max Cady’s rape trial, and he made a serious error: he hid a document that could have gotten him acquitted. Now, the cagey, bibliophile Cady has been released, and he intends to teach Sam Bowden and his family a thing or two about loss.
Lou Ye: Purple Butterfly
Ding Hui (Zhang Ziyi) is a member of Purple Butterfly, a powerful resistance group in Japanese occupied Shanghai. An unexpected encounter reunites her with Itami, an ex-lover and officer with a secret police unit tasked with dismantling Purple Butterfly. MUBI begins its retrospective of the great, subversive Chinese director Lou Ye.
Lou Ye:Summer Palace
After his memory-clouded Purple Butterfly, Lou Ye opted for greater directness in his next romance, set among Beijing students during the 1980s. Featuring both Chinese film’s first full nudity and overt reference to the Tiananmen Square police action, he was banned from filmmaking for 5 years. It is 1989, and country girl Yu Hong leaves her village, her family and her lover to study in Beijing. At university, she discovers an intense world of sexual freedom and forbidden pleasure.
Direct from Locarno: Meteors
MUBI continues its highlights from last year’s Locarno Festival is Gürcan Keltek’s textured and evocative documentary. Unexpectedly connecting cosmic chaos—a gobsmacking meteor shower—and the armed conflict between Turks and Kurds, Keltek finds resonances both political and poetic.
Direct from Locarno: Cocote
Cocote is a bewitching revenge thriller, as enigmatic as it is exhilarating, that subverts dominant paradigms of representation to ultimately reinvent the genre.
Direct from Locarno: Le Fort Des Fous
As the 71st Locarno Film Festival unveils the best of bold, fearless world cinema, we’re excited to bring you some of last year’s essential highlights. Madmen’s Fort is a defiant, haunting look at History with capital H—an overwhelming examination of the politics of power versus the power of utopia.
Ang Lee Triple: Lust, Caution
Ang Lee adapts revered Chinese writer Eileen Chang’s novel into a powerful thriller-drama of desire and commitment in the tormented China of the 1940s, under Japanese occupation. A young woman finds herself swept up in a radical plot to assassinate a ruthless intelligence agent.
Ang Lee Triple: The Wedding Banquet
Gay couple Wai-Tung and Simon are happily living in New York. However, Wai-Tung’s nagging parents want to see their son marry and have children. The couple have a plan: Wai-Tung will marry Wei-Wei, an acquaintance in need of a green card–but his parents arrive to visit and things get out of hand.
Ang Lee Triple: Eat Drink Man Woman
A senior chef lives with his three grown daughters in Taiwan. When the middle one finds her future plans affected by unexpected events, it impacts the life of the other household members. Ang Lee’s family fable is the best movie ever made about how food can connect generations.
New Canadian Cinema: Still Night, Still Light
In Québec, Mexico and Asia, three woken dreamers answer to the pressing call from the images and melodies that inhabit them, by day and by night. Haunted by an absence, a departure, or an urging need to go towards the other, Éliane, Romes and his father Pablo choose to act before it’s too late.
New Canadian Cinema: The Stairs
Three people use their experiences surviving decades of drug use and sex work to help their community. Told over five years, their surprising stories reveal a world often misunderstood.
New Canadian Cinema: Boundaries
Three women find themselves on the opposite ends of a political negotiation, yet unify under the shared experience of sexism in the workplace. Chloé Robichaud gracefully explores this theme with an arresting conversational structure, a sophisticated play with tone, and a strong sense of landscape.
New Canadian Cinema: How Heavy This Summer
A married father of two nearing middle age, Erwin is not quite an outcast, but as his life slowly begins to unravel we begin to understand just how far outside the social order he truly is.
New Canadian Cinema: The Art of Speech
One of Québec’s most inventive cinematic poets, Olivier Godin crafted his sophomore film on a shoe-string budget with an expressionist use of digital video and boundless imagination. The result: The Art of Speech is a densely layered, Godardian comedy laced with an evocative mystery and romance.
New Canadian Cinema: Historytelling
MUBI continues its exploration of Canadian cinema with a documentary short that offers its voice to a classroom of children of varying milieu to bravely beckon us to listen to future generations regarding history and the future. Shot on the First Nations reserve of Pessamu, Québec.
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Last chance to stream: Titles leaving MUBI soon
Available until end of: 18th August
Available until end of: 19th August
The Wedding Banquet
Available until end of: 20th August
Eat Drink Man Woman
Available until end of: 21st August
How Heavy This Hammer
Available until end of: 22nd August
Still Night, Still Light
Available until end of: 23rd August
Blue Black Permanent
Available until end of: 24th August
Available until end of: 25th August
Available until end of: 26th August