MUBI Weekly Digest | 11th July 2020
James R | On 11, Jul 2020
MUBI begins an impressive three-month Pedro Almodóvar retrospective this week, which follows the director’s career from his transgressive early work to his movies from the last three decades, which mark a more mature and reflective turn – an ideal string of companions to Pain and Glory, currently available exclusively on MUBI. But it’s not just Pedro on the playlist for the week, with Abderrahmane Sissako and Fellini also worth tuning in for, along with promising and distinctive directors Marco Dutra and Juliana Rojas.
And, of course, there’s MUBI Library to peruse. With more than 400 former releases now available to stream at any time, read our full guide to how it works here – or our list of recommended starting points for browsing.
Meanwhile, MUBI’s daily drops of new titles continues apace. What’s new, coming soon and leaving soon on the subscription service? This is your weekly MUBI Digest:
This week on MUBI
Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! – 11th July
Hot off the major success of Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Almodóvar switched gears to take his melodramatic style into more dangerous territory – accompanied by by a score from the late, great Ennio Morricone.
Fellini: Juliet of the Spirits – 12th July
Giulietta is a somewhat frumpy, naive, timid and unfulfilled housewife. Suspecting her husband’s infidelity, she enters a surreal journey of self-discovery filled with wild dreams and enchanting fantasies, which involve her sexually liberated neighbour Suzy and her glamorous sixties lifestyle. MUBI’s Fellini retrospective continues.
Timbuktu – 13th July
Not far from Timbuktu, now ruled by religious fundamentalists, Kidane lives peacefully with his wife and children. In town, people suffer from the regime of terror imposed by the Jihadists. But the family’s life changes abruptly after an accident — now Kidane’s fate is in the hands of the Jihadists. Abderrahmane Sissako’s superb Oscar-nominated drama is an eye-opening portrait of life under Jihadist rule.
Brazil: Good Manners – 14th July
Set in São Paulo, the film follows Clara, a lonely nurse from the outskirts of the city who is hired by mysterious and wealthy Ana to be the nanny of her soon to be born child. Against all odds, the two women develop a strong bond. But a fateful night marked by a full moon changes their plans. MUBI’s focus on new Brazilian filmmaking continues with Marco Dutra and Juliana Rojas’s excellent 2017 fantasy horror.
Villa Empain – 15th July
Villa Empain was conceived by Belgian philanthropist Louis Empain as a private home. After its completion in 1934, he donated the property to the state. Since then, it has served as a Soviet embassy, a TV studio, etc. Only since 2008 does it fulfill its original destination: a haven for art.
The Heiresses – 17th July
Chela and Chiquita have been together for over 30 years. They both descend from wealthy families, but recently their financial situation has worsened and they have to sell off their inherited possessions. When Chiquita is imprisoned on fraud charges, Chela is forced to face a new reality in Marcelo Martinessi’s low-key 2018 drama.
Other new releases on MUBI
David Oyelowo is unrecognisable in Ava DuVernay’s stirring, powerful biopic of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Seven people win an all expenses paid holiday abroad, but instead are dropped in a remote area by plane. They come across a mansion where a butler has been waiting for them, and find that they have been brought there to deliver justice for a crime they were all involved in. MUBI’s Indian cinema retrospective continues with this 1965 musical comedy thriller.
Film Title Poem
An etched, hand-painted 35mm digitised film comprised of collaged words, images, patterns and glitches shot from over 500 movie title cards to a musical soundtrack. Jennifer West’s experimental film is part of a larger project that considers the “remembered” movie, and how fiction weaves itself into our lives and memories.
Cinema legend Fabienne is about to publish her memoirs. The version of her life in the book, however, is critiqued by her daughter Lumir, who visits Fabienne with her American husband and their daughter. Resentments eventually explode as Fabienne and Lumir confront the reality of their dynamic. Read our review
Céline Sciamma: Girlhood
Oppressed by her family setting, dead-end school prospects and the boys’ law in the neighborhood, Marieme starts a new life after meeting a group of three free-spirited girls. She changes her name, her dress code, and quits school to be accepted in the gang, hoping that it will be a way to freedom.
Céline Sciamma: Tomboy
There is definitely something boyish about ten-year-old Laure. It’s summer and she has recently moved to a new area with her parents and her little sister, Jeanne. Laure allows her new neighbourhood acquaintances to believe that she is a boy. That’s how Laure becomes Michael. Truth or dare? Celine Sciamma’s delicate exploration of identity and gender is a sweet, funny, moving gem. Read our review
Céline Sciamma: Water Lilies
The paths of three 15-year-old girls living in a modern Paris suburb cross at the local swimming pool, where love and desire make a dramatic appearance. The dynamics of their relationships gradually begins to shift as they come to learn the true meaning of arousal and the power of sexual attraction.
Nymphomaniac: Volume I and II
A self-diagnosed nymphomaniac recounts her experiences to the man who saved her in Lars von Trier’s graphic, controversial drama.
A pioneering voice of New Indian Cinema, director Mani Kaul devoted the third entry in his filmography (and his first movie in colour!) to tackling a folk story on screen. Marriage, rural life, and the fragility of oneself are just some of the key themes dissected in this haunting piece of cinema.
Herzog: Wheel of Time
A Tibetan Buddhist initiation rite, which took place in 2002 in India, in the Dalai Lama’s presence. For six weeks, hundreds of thousands of Buddhists came en masse to absorb themselves in prayer and meditation, represented by the Mandala, which then dissolves into the wind. MUBI begins a Werner Herzog double-bill with this 2003 documentary.
Herzog: The Wild Blue Yonder
Herzog’s unclassifiable found-footage “science fiction fantasy” uses NASA materials and underwater photography to examine life on an unliveable planet.
Winner of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, there is strange undeniable magic to Federico Fellini’s semi-autobiographical, self-referential film about film. It is an iconic, modernist work of absolute genius that manically flits between the fantastic and the realistic.
Fellini: La Dolce Vita
Alongside Fellini’s 100th birthday celebration, 2020 also marks the 60th anniversary of his immortal work of art. Including one of cinema’s most unforgettable scenes this pinnacle of elegance and virtuosity changed the course of film history forever.
The Invincibles (Director’s Cut)
During a raid on a mafia stronghold, one suspect escapes. Karl Simon, leader of the SWAT team, recognizes the fleeing man as a former colleague, who was said to have committed suicide years earlier. But the search for that “ghost” turns into a dangerous game for Simon and his crew in Dominik Graf’s 1994 thriller.
Christian Petzold (Barbara) boldly transforms Anna Seghers’ WW2 novel into a haunting period film set in an ambiguous present. A stirring melodrama of love during oppression, starring Franz Rogowski and Paula Beer.
Aspiring actress Betty (Naomi Watts) arrives in LA and befriends an amnesiac woman (Laura Harring) and tries to help her recover her memory. David Lynch’s masterpiece blurs Hollywood fantasies and noir dreams into one intoxicating nightmare. Read our full review
Brazil: The Dead and the Others
MUBI begins a new season focused on Brazilian cinema with João Salaviza and Renée Nader Messora’s 2018 drama. 15-year-old Ihjãc, an indigenous Krahô from the north of Brazil, is called to organize the funerary feast for his father so that his spirit can depart to the dead’s village. Denying his tribal duty, Ihjãc runs away to the city, where he faces the reality of being indigenous in contemporary Brazil.
Brazil: Let It Burn
This tender portrait of drug users residing in a hostel-turned-social housing project is a tough yet hopeful act of cinematic communion. Deeply devoted to its subjects, but also providing space to bring them closer to each other, Let It Burn absorbs great emotion, culminating in musical release.
A group of friends from São Paulo go on a trip to a remote beach. While they wait for the new year’s eve, they build a safe and pleasant environment through music and friendship. They take care of themselves, they own their bodies, their sexuality, their memories and they feel free. MUBI continues its spotlight on new Brazilian cinema with this 2019 short documentary.
Ida Lupino: The Hitch-Hiker
Ray and Gilbert’s fishing trip takes a terrifying turn when the hitchhiker they pick up turns out to be a sociopath on the run from the law – the premise not only of a classic thriller, but one directed by the legendary Ida Lupino, making it possibly the first major film noir helmed by a woman.
Ida Lupino: The Bigamist
San Francisco businessman Harry Graham and his wife and business partner, Eve, are in the process of adopting a child. When private investigator Jordan uncovers the fact that Graham has another wife, Phyllis, and a small child in Los Angeles, he confesses everything. The second part of MUBI’s Ida Lupino double-bill.
Catherine Corsini’s Summertime gracefully portrays a love story between two women. 1971. Delphine, the daughter of farmers, moves to Paris to break free from the shackles of her family and to gain her financial independence. Carole is a Parisian, living with Manuel, actively involved in the stirrings of the feminist movement. Their encounter turns their lives upside down.
It’s 1967: Jean-Luc Godard’s marriage to Anna Karina is over, and he is reimagining his art. Sensing cultural and political change in the air a full year before the unrest of May 1968, he embarks on a new film, La Chinoise, with a new woman, actress and student activist Anne Wiazemsky. Michel Hazanavicius takes a knowing approach to this portrait of the artist as an old bore. Read our full review
The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975
From 1967 to 1975, fuelled by curiosity and naïveté, Swedish journalists traversed the ocean to film the black power movement in America. The Black Power Mixtape mobilises a mosaic of images, music, and narration to chronicle the movement’s evolution. This eye-opening documentary was rediscovered 30 years later. Though told from an outsider perspective, this is a revelatory portrait of American systemic racism that remains of the utmost relevance today. Essential.
The first feature film to be shot entirely in Saudi Arabia, Haifaa Al Mansour’s remarkable debut is a fantastic, uplifting story about a girl who wants to ride a bike and wear purple trainers to school. Read our full review
Following a four year separation, Ahmad returns to Paris from Tehran, upon his French wife Marie’s request, in order to finalize their divorce procedure. During his brief stay, Ahmad discovers the conflicting nature of Marie’s relationship with her daughter Lucie. Berenice Bejo and Tahar Rahim star in Asghar Farhadi’s drama, which won Best Actress at Cannes. Read our full review
Woman at War (2018)
Behind the scenes of her quiet routine, fifty-year-old Halla leads a double life as a passionate environmental activist. She declares a one-woman-war on the local aluminium industry, and is prepared to risk everything to protect the landscapes she love – until an orphan unexpectedly enters her life. If you missed this in the cinema recently, don’t miss it this time.
Love & Friendship
Not just the tale of a widow (Kate Beckinsale) riding out the rumours of her romantic liaisons, while trying to find a suitor for her young daughter (Morfydd Clark), Love and Friendship is also a non-stop string of witty insults and catty shots – and Beckinsale is brilliant at firing them out. Whit Stillman’s hilarious period comedy is Jane Austen as you’ve never seen her before.
Cassandro, The Exotico!
After 26 years of spinning dives and flying uppercuts on the ring, Cassandro, the star of the gender-bending cross-dressing Mexican wrestlers known as the Exoticos, is far from retiring. But with dozens of broken bones and metal pins in his body, he must now reinvent himself, a process captured in Marie Losier’s documentary. Read our review
Ema is a magnetic and impulsive dancer in a reggaeton troupe. Her toxic marriage to choreographer Gastón is beyond repair, following a decision to give up on their adopted child Polo. She sets out on a mission to get him back, not caring who she’ll need to fight, seduce or destroy to make it happen. Read our review
Frederick Wiseman’s three-hour visit to the National Gallery is a portrait of a hugely complex world painted as simply as possible. Completely absorbing. Read our review
Andrew Haigh’s drama starring Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay is a haunting study of relationships and memory. Read our full review
In Elizabeth Sankey’s Romantic Comedy, our most-loved romcoms are torn apart and scrutinised for their unrealistic pictures of male-female relationships and white, heterosexual, middle-class characters. Why does the woman always have to be saved by a man? Read our full review
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Available until: 18th July