As December begins, MUBI unwraps a diverse stocking of cinematic treats, from the big to the small. They don’t come much bigger than Sergio Leone’s gangster epic, One Upon a Time in America, or much smaller than the directorial debut of Beach Rats’ Eliza Hittman. And, between that, an exclusive new film from Sion Sono and Miguel Gomes’ Arabian Nights trilogy, MUBI sneaks in a double-bill celebrating cinema hero and Godfather of truly independent filmmaking Jonas Mekas, on the occasion of the premiere of his new work From the Notebooks of a Cinema Maniac.
What’s new, coming soon and leaving soon on the subscription service? This is your weekly MUBI Digest:
This week on MUBI
Once Upon a Time in America – 2nd December
The final film by Sergio Leone finds the maestro audaciously and ambitiously going beyond his Spaghetti Western roots for a sprawling, multi-decade New York crime epic. Robert De Niro leads a production at once resplendent and gritty—a familiar setting given operatic majesty and force by Leone. De Niro. James Woods. Leone. What more do you need?
Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania – 4th December
This film, and its companion piece Going Home are documentaries in the form of home movies. It records the return visit of brothers Jonas and Adolfas Mekas to their homeland of Lithuania.
Lost, Lost, Lost – 5th December
Walden may have been Mekas’ first diary film, but the film that incorporated Mekas’ earliest footage was the one that told the story of his postwar arrival in America, Lost Lost Lost.
Antiporno – 8th December
MUBI’s latest Special Discovery pick is from Sion Sono. It follows Kyoko, a 21-year-old artist who loves being at the center of attention. One day, feeling down, she lashes out against her assistant, sexually humiliating her in front of the rest of the staff. Suddenly someone yells “Cut!” and we realize that they are actually on a movie set…
Other new releases on MUBI
It Felt Like Love
With Beach Rats now in cinemas and on VOD, MUBI takes us back to director Eliza Hittman’s debut, It Felt Like Love. 14-year-old Lila is experiencing an ennui-filled Brooklyn summer playing third wheel to Chiara, her more experienced friend, and Chiara’s boyfriend, Patrick. Determined to have a love interest of her own, a bravado-filled Lila pursues Sammy and manipulates herself deeper into his world.
Curtis Hanson’s masterful neo-noir brings period Los Angeles to stylish, gripping life, with Guy Pearce and Russell Crowe on fine form as a pair of cops drawn together by murder, a mysterious woman and the city’s seedy underbelly.
Yumeji follows real-life painter-poet Yumeji Takehisa, who strays from his lover when he falls for the beautiful and newly windowed Tomoyo.
Filmed over two years, Haitian-born Raoul Peck’s powerful exposé examines the staggering failures, global and local, that have stranded a vulnerable nation in the aftermath of Haiti’s devastating 2010 earthquake.
Murder in Pacot
In the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake, a middle-aged Port-au-Prince couple come face to face with the stark contradictions of Haitian society when they are forced to rent out their villa to a foreign aid worker and his enterprising local girlfriend.
Michael Cimino is one of American cinema’s singular talents—and his distinct sense of landscape, colonial displacement, and male ennui is fully realized in his final work. The Sunchaser, might otherwise be rough around the edges, but nonetheless stands as one of the auteur’s most underrated films.
We Were Here
Ahead of World AIDS Day, we’re proud to join the global fight against this infection and commemorate those it has taken its toll on. This critically acclaimed documentary about San Francisco’s gay community in the 70s and 80s is a deeply moving look at tragedy and resilience during the HIV epidemic.
Natural Born Killers
Oliver Stone’s controversial comedy, which follows two mass murderers (Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis), remains as black as ever.
Bill Viola: The Road to St Paul’s
Gerald Fox’s film documents Bill Viola and his wife and close collaborator Kira Perov’s odyssey to create two permanent video installations for London’s St Paul’s Cathedral, Martyrs and Mary, the first art commissions of their kind to be installed in Britain’s most famous religious space.
A Hard Day’s Night
It’s 1964 and four young lads from Liverpool are about to change the world. John, Paul, George, and Ringo play cheeky comic versions of themselves in a film that captured the astonishing moment when they officially became the singular, irreverent idols of their generation and changed music forever.
Heat-Haze Theater (Kagero-Za)
Matsuzaki is a playwright in 1926 Tokyo supported by a wealthy patron. One evening, Matsuzaki crosses paths with a beautiful and mysterious woman, leading to an odyssey of infidelity and obsession…
Knock on Any Door
Andrew Morton is an attorney who made it out of the slums. Nick Romano is his client, a young man with a long string of crimes behind him. After he lost his paycheck gambling, hoping to buy his wife some jewelry, she announced she was pregnant. Later he finds her dead from suicide.
In Nicholas Ray’s WWII drama, a British officers, Captain Leith and Major Brand, a South African, lead a daring raid to steal crucial documents from a Nazi stronghold in Libya. However, the two don’t seem particularly fond of each other.
Wet Woman in the Wind
One afternoon, Shiori, a very sexually active young woman working in a café, is riding her bicycle and cuts off Kosuke, who is pulling a two-wheeled cart. Once a recognized playwright, Kosuke now lives a quiet life in a mountain hut, far away from the city, in the hope of escaping his past.
Robert De Niro. Al Pacino. Michael Mann. Three icons of cinemas combine for his seminal crime drama, which sees a determine cop and an equally ruthless criminal in a cat-and-mouse game in a nocturnal Los Angeles caught with cool intensity by Mann’s deep-focused camera. A modern classic.
A doctor’s endless search for a cure to his wife’s cancer spans centuries in Darren Aronofsky’s ambitious, divisive sci-fi, as she writes the tale of a 16th Century conquistador looking for eternal life.
Arabian Nights Vol. I
In Portugal, over 600 shipyard workers are being laid off. An apiarist fights off an invasion of foreign bees. An African wizard creates an aerosol spray that cures impotence in world leaders and IMF financiers. A judge puts a cockerel on trial for crowing too early. (Read our interview with Miguel Gomes.)
Arabian Nights Vol. II
An elderly criminal becomes a folk hero as he successfully evades hordes of police; a stern judge oversees a case involving 13 stolen cows, mail-order brides, a genie and a machete-wielding human lie detector; a Maltese poodle shuffles between households in a recession-stricken estate. (Read our interview with Miguel Gomes.)
Arabian Nights Vol. III
Scheherazade, the daughter of the grand vizier, weaves tales to please the king and stay her own execution. Realising she will soon run out of stories to tell, she hatches a plan to escape the palace. Meanwhile, finch hunters offer a musical analogy for Portugal’s 21st-century woes. (Read our interview with Miguel Gomes.)
On Body and Soul
When a man and woman who meet at work begin to know each other, they discover that they have the same dreams at night, and they decide to make them come true. Subtly moving and brutally raw, read our full review of Ildikó Enyedi’s first feature since the 90s.
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Last chance to stream: Titles leaving MUBI soon
Dead or Alive
Available until end of: 2nd December
Dead or Alive 2
Available until end of: 3rd December
Dead or Alive: Final
Available until end of: 4th December
Available until end of: 5th December
Available until end of: 6th December
Postcards from the Zoo
Available until end of: 7th December
Available until end of: 8th December
Under Electric Clouds
Available until end of: 9th December