MUBI kicks off the week with a Zhang Yimou double bill. Focusing on his underseen films from the middle of his career, as Zhang transitioned from an enemy of the state towards state endorsed commercial cinema, MUBI pays tribute to the masterful talent from China’s fifth generation.
Then, it’s back to France for more of My French Film Festival, as MUBI showcases a selection of French cinema, both new and old, as part of the unique, month-long event.
What’s new, coming soon and leaving soon on the subscription service? This is your weekly MUBI Digest:
This week on MUBI
Not One Less – 27th January
Set in the People’s Republic of China during the 1990s, the film centers on a 13-year-old substitute teacher, Wei Minzhi, in the Chinese countryside. Called in to substitute for a village teacher for one month, Wei is told not to lose any students…
The Road Home – 28th January
Zhang Yimou offers a romanticism both complicated and affectionate in this study of the role of love in rural working class life. An essential transitional work despite compromise by state censors.
MyFrenchFilmFestival: Before Summer Ends – 29th January
Halfway between fiction and documentary, this is an astute, warm portrait of masculinity by Goormaghtigh—also the film’s cinematographer—shedding a new light on the Iranian male and the buddy movie tropes.
MyFrenchFilmFestival: In Bed With Victoria – 30th January
While the American tradition of the romantic comedy has waned in recent years, Justine Triet’s portrait of a woman at a crossroads in the courtroom and bedroom proves the beloved genre is alive and well in France. A feminist revision of the rom-com—proving the familiar can still be unpredictable.
Illumination – 31st January
Krzysztof Zanussi’s groundbreaking film chronicles a decade in the life of a young physics student whose absolute faith in the primacy of rationality and science is shaken by tragedy and affairs of the heart.
Other new releases on MUBI
Three workers, Zeke, Jerry and Smokey, are working at a car plant and drinking their beers together. One night when they steal away from their wives to have some fun, they get the idea to rob the local union’s bureau safe.
The first horror film producer Val Lewton made for RKO Pictures redefined the genre by leaving its terrors to the audience’s imagination. A Serbian émigré in Manhattan believes that, because of an ancient curse, any physical intimacy with the man she loves will turn her into a feline predator.
MyFrenchFilmFestival: Man Bites Dog
Belgian cinema has always been overshadowed by their French neighbours’ remarkable film tradition, but Man Bites Dog is one of the most surprising films of the 90s. Highly controversial at the time of release, its shocking take on violence and unwavering dark humour have earned it cult status.
MyFrenchFilmFestival: Willy 1er
In collaboration with My French Film Festival, throwing a spotlight on new French cinema, MUBI presents this inspired Gallic version of an indie movie. It’s a simple but eloquent character study, starring non-professional playing (almost) himself, and strikes a sweet, deadpan, oft-melancholic tone.
Quentin Tarantino’s violent Western is a lot of things, but one thing it isn’t is boring. Jamie Foxx and Christoph Waltz pair up as a freed slave and German dentist to exact revenge upon white folk – but it’s away from the blood splattering that Django Unchained finds its unexpected depth, with Samuel L. Jackson stealing the show as a conflicted butler. Read our full review.
Dead Slow Ahead
The hypnotic rhythm of a freighter’s pace reveals the continuous movement of the machinery devouring its workers. Perhaps it is a boat adrift, or maybe just the last example of an endangered species with engines still running, unstoppable.
This intense chamber drama centers on an ambitious young industrial designer who is summoned home to help his father and sister. Both the aristocratic family he fled in shame and scorn, and their dilapidated country estate, bathed in an oppressively nostalgic light, prove ultimately inescapable.
A Decent Woman
A housemaid working in an exclusive gated community on the outskirts of Buenos Aires embarks on a journey of sexual and mental liberation in a nudist swinger-club boarding the high security walls.
MyFrenchFilmFestival: Struggle for Life
Mark Chestnut, intern at the Ministry of the Standard, is sent to Guyana to the compliance with EU standards of construction GUYANEIGE: Amazon first indoor ski slope intended to boost tourism in Guyana. Also, he’s gonna have to work with a teammate. Bad luck she’s a pin-up. Worse, she has character.
After seeing Ethan Hawkes’ Jesse and Julie Delpy’s Celine meet on a train in 1995, Richard Linklater’s second follow-up, Before Midnight, isn’t just the next chapter in their relationship or a deeply honest exploration of love and reality (unlike the majority of romantic comedies produced today) – it’s like catching up with old friends. When was the last time you could say that about a film? Read our full review
Drive, He Said
Jack Nicholson’s enormously irreverent directorial debut, Drive, He Said, free-spirited and sobering by turns, is a sketch of the exploits of a disaffected college basketball player and his increasingly radical roommate.
The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover
Set almost entirely in a French restaurant, this bold, controversial film utilizes follows the exploits of a ruthless British gangster whose long suffering wife forges a relationship with one of the restaurant’s patrons behind his back.
Available on MUBI at the same time in cinemas, Rey follows a French adventurer, who, in the nineteenth century, sets off to establish a kingdom in the inhospitable South of Chile, uniting the feared Mapuche under him. The response of the Chilean army is devastating. An intricately designed adventure film as well as powerful textural experiment.
The Structure of Crystal
The protagonists of Krzysztof Zanussi’s 1969 drama are two talented physicists – one of them leaves the city for the countryside and becomes a meteorologist, the other establishes a brilliant career in science. Both are bombarded by moral dilemmas regarding their choice in life.
Following Joachim Trier’s unsettling Thelma, go back to the director’s first, a precise yet playful character study and occasionally satirical story about the pitfalls of two young, ambitious writers who are also best friends.
Being John Malkovich
A lowly puppeteer takes a job as a file clerk in an office, only to discover a mysterious portal that transports a person into the mind of actor John Malkovich, only to be spit out alongside the New Jersey Turnpike fifteen minutes later.
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Last chance to stream: Titles leaving MUBI soon
Available until end of: 27th January
Available until end of: 28th January
Available until end of: 29th January
Available until end of: 30th January
The Gold Diggers
Available until end of: 31st January
Available until end of: 1st February
Available until end of: 2nd February
Being John Malkovich
Available until end of: 3rd February