MUBI Weekly Digest | 14th November 2020
James R | On 14, Nov 2020
MUBI is feeling French this week, with a trio of treats from across the Channel. As well as continuing its Isabelle Huppert celebration, there’s a delightful double-bill of Dardennes gems on the way, just the thing to brighten up a dark November evening. And, to top it off, there’s an exclusive selection of six films from this year’s Sheffield Doc/Fest to stream.
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.
What’s new, coming soon and leaving soon on the subscription service? This is your weekly MUBI Digest:
This week on MUBI
Doc/Fest 2020 Selection – 14th November
MUBI is exclusively streaming a selection of six films from this year’s Doc/Fest line-up, including the tale of a newspaper kiosk in Paris and a rebel love story in the Brazilian Amazon, as well as new works from Lynne Sachs and Sofia Bohdanowicz. See our guide to the collection here.
Huppert: White Material – 14th November
The collaboration between Isabelle Huppert and Claire Denis the world had been dreaming of, arrived with this powerful story about the death throes of white colonialism.
Images – 15th November
Cathryn is a pregnant children’s author, whose husband may or may not be having an affair. While holidaying in Ireland, her mental state becomes increasingly unstable resulting in paranoia, hallucinations and visions of a doppelgänger.
Dardennes: The Kid with a Bike – 16th November
Breaking from tradition, two-time Palme d’Or winners Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne cast a star, Belgian actress Cécile de France, for this optimistic social-realist drama.
Essential Killing – 17th November
In Jerzy Skolimowski’s metaphysical drama, which follows the solo escape of a terrorist fighter, controversial artist Vincent Gallo delivers an award-winning, wordless performance.
Cemetery – 18th November
After a devastating earthquake, Nga, an old elephant and probably the last of its species, and Sanra, his mahout, are about to embark on a journey to find the mythical elephant’s graveyard. The group of poachers following them will die one after the other under mysterious circumstances and spells.
Altman – 19th November
Ron Mann takes an in-depth look at the life and times of filmmaker Robert Altman in this 2014 documentary.
Dardennes: Two Days, One Night – 20th November
Marion Cotillard delivers a powerful performance in this drama about Sandra, who returns to work after a bout of depression to find that her co-workers have voted her out of a job in favour of a bonus. Her boss gives her a weekend to convince them all to change their minds, prompting a series of confrontations that test both her ingenuity and her colleagues’ scruples.
Other new releases on MUBI
Queen of Hearts
Successful lawyer Anne lives happily with her two daughters and her husband Peter. Yet when Gustav, Peter’s troubled teenage son from another relationship, comes to live with them, Anne forms an intimate bond with Gustav that jeopardises her perfect life, one that will have devastating consequences. Winner of the Audience Award at Sundance in 2019, this provocative domestic drama echoes the self-reflexive nature of a Douglas Sirk melodrama and the slow-burn tension of a Hitchcockian thriller.
The Kindergarten Teacher ber
Lisa Spinelli, married and living with kids that mostly ignore her, plods through her days teaching kindergarten with growing numbness. But one day everything changes—Lisa discovers that a five-year-old boy in her class may be the poet she can only dream of being. She becomes fascinated.
1938. While Lithuania celebrates its Independence Day, war looms on the horizon. A young geographer pitches to the Prime Minister the idea of creating a backup state overseas, where the country’s inhabitants could move in case of danger. An odd yet heartfelt friendship arises between the two men.
To the Ends of the Earth
Yoko, a cautious and introverted host of a popular TV travel show, is on assignment in Uzbekistan. When everything goes wrong, she decides to set aside her host duties and take a stroll. Lost in the streets of a foreign city, she finds herself adrift and alone, confronting her fears and aspirations.
A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence
Roy Andersson’s eccentric oddity is a bleakly comic parade of existence.
The Green Ray
Delphine’s traveling companion cancels two weeks before her holiday, so Delphine, a Parisian secretary, is at loose ends. She doesn’t want to travel by herself, but has no boyfriend and seems unable to meet new people. Thus begins a summer looking inside herself, and outside—for love.
Almodóvar: I’m So Excited
Returning to the light, goofy, and salacious tone that characterizes his early career, Almodóvar changed gears and indulged in camp exuberance for this farcical in-flight comedy, a satirical metaphor for Spain’s state of crisis featuring some of Pedro’s regulars. Time to buckle up your seat belts!
Almodóvar: All About My Mother
Following the tragic death of her teenage son, Manuela travels from Madrid to Barcelona in an attempt to contact the long-estranged father the boy never knew. She reunites with an old friend, an outspoken transgender sex worker, and befriends a troubled actress and a pregnant, HIV-positive nun.
Almodóvar: Broken Embraces
Pedro and Penélope Cruz reunite as the man and his muse bring us a slow-burning, sensual tale of a director and an actress who fall in love. The news of powerful businessman Ernesto Martel’s death forces Harry Caine, a blind man who was once a film writer and director, to confront his tragic past. Magdalena was the star of Harry’s last film. Although she was Martel’s younger girlfriend at the time, the two fell ferociously in love.
In working-class Madrid, Raimunda needs to deal with her husband’s death, while struggling to support her family. But surrounded by three generations of women—her sister Sole, her daughter Paula, and friend Agustina—and haunted by her dead mother, Raimunda will do more than survive.
Almodóvar: Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!
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.
Almodóvar: Live Flesh
Víctor falls hard for Elena, but she doesn’t reciprocate his feelings. She does, however, have feelings for David, a policeman who arrives to break up an argument between her and Víctor. That encounter however takes an unexpected turn that leads these characters down a dark, twisty path in Almodóvar’s 1997 drama.
Almodóvar: Bad Education
Two boys, Ignacio and Enrique, know love, fear, and abuse in a Catholic boarding school in the 1960s. Father Manolo, the headmaster, is witness to and part of these discoveries. The three meet again many years later, and their past actions and new lives intertwine in creative and destructive ways.
Almodóvar: Talk to Her
Benigno is infatuated with Alicia, a dancer he watches from the anonymity of his apartment. After an accident, she is brought to the hospital where Benigno happens to be her caregiver. When wounded bullfighter Lydia is brought into the same ward, her companion, Marco, bonds with Benigno in the most unexpected, moving, disturbing ways.
Almodóvar: The Skin I Live In
The Skin I Live In is a sultry, unsettling masterpiece that sees Almodóvar at his most audacious.
This funny, shocking coming-of-age paranormal musical is entrancing cinema.
The Other Lamb
The members of the Flock, all women and female children, live in a rural compound, being led by a man, Shepherd. Selah, a daughter, is given the great honor of participating in the sacred ritual of the birthing of the lambs where she has a shocking and otherworldly experience.
What We Do in the Shadows
Taiki Waititi’s vampire comedy is moving, clever and mercilessly quick, but most of all, it’s bleeding funny.
The Hills Have Eyes
In Wes Craven’s cult horror hit, a family on vacation are attacked by mutant killers in the desert. After the success of Last House on the Left, Craven served up another terrifying tale of family survival with a still-relevant Vietnam-era moral question at its core: which family deserves to live? The normal American family? Or the inbred cannibals damaged by nuclear testing designed to keep “upstanding” families safe?
Huppert: Time of the Wolf
The time preceding the apocalypse is known in Germanic mythology as the time of the wolves. Fleeing a disaster, a middle-class family travel to their countryside holiday home, believing themselves to be escaping the consequences of the general state of chaos, but they find it occupied by strangers. After working with Michael Haneke on The Piano Teacher, Isabelle Huppert teamed up again with the director for this tale of post-apocalyptic survival.
An ex-nun who writes adult short stories crosses paths with an amnesiac wandering the streets of New York City. When they set out to uncover his identity, they come face to face with his unsavory past, including a vengeful porno actress and ruthless corporate assassins hot on their trail.
Huppert: Valley of Love
An estranged couple meet for the first time in years in the Death Valley. They are here to answer to an invitation from their son Michael, which they received after his suicide, six months ago. Despite the absurdity of the situation, they decide to follow the initiatory program designed by Michael. Isabelle Huppert and Gerard Depardieu star in Guillaume Nicloux’s intense, intimate drama.
A family’s peaceful existence is threatened when a busy highway is opened right next to their isolated property in Ursula Meier’s 2008 drama. As the sounds and fumes of the modern world begin to fill their home, the family becomes disorientated, and each of its member finds themselves pushed to dangerous extremes.
Set in Vienna, film charts a female writer’s passage to self-destruction as she is torn between two lovers, one of whom is her husband. Isabelle Huppert stars in Werner Schroeter’s adaptation of Ingeborg Bachmann’s novel, co-written by Elfriede Jelinek (The Piano Teacher).
Huppert: 8 Women
Eight women at a country estate suspect each of foul play after the house’s owner, Marcel, is found murdered in Francois Ozon’s 2002 comedy. The telephone line has been cut, the car won’t start and a heavy snowfall keeps the women confined to the grounds – including Catherine Deneuve, Emmanuelle Beart and the inimitable Isabelle Huppert.
Wuthering Heights (2011)
Rarely has a period tale felt so modern.
Finding Vivian Maier
Part detective story and part portrait of an artist, this documentary about the now-celebrated photographer is a fascinating watch.
Beautiful New Bay Area Project
While inspecting a wharf, young Amano, president of an urban planning company, meets beautiful laborer Takako and falls in love at first sight. However, she does not return his affections, so he steals her ID card and goes on the run from the infuriated Takako. Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s martial arts flick has a sense of realism that is as unusual as it is bracing.
Ghost Strata refers to the missing elements from within the rock strata that offer hints of what was once there. Charting personal movements of the filmmaker in various places, the film explores the differing scales of impact that humanity’s presence has on the earth in the past, present and future.
Do you ever feel like there’s somebody out there, on the other side of the world, who feels how you feel? Kaden is a world-class ski jumper in Canada, pining for a lost love. Khai is a corporate executive in Shanghai, drawn to a new coworker with a secret. The two men go about their lives, without knowing that they are connected.
Journey to the Shore
Though best known for J-horror, Kiyoshi Kurosawa confirms his remarkable versatility with this genre-bending road movie that paints an otherworldly portrait of love and death. Melding romance with the supernatural, Journey to the Shore is full of moments of surprising tenderness and melancholy.
Kaurismäki: The Other Side of Hope
Khaled arrives at the port of Helsinki concealed in a coal container, fleeing Syria to seek asylum in Finland. There he crosses paths with Wikström, a former salesman who has recently began a new life as a restaurateur. Together they navigate the adversities they face in these unfamiliar new worlds.
Exclusive: Matthias & Maxime
Xavier Dolan’s latest follows Matt and Max, two childhood best friends, are asked to share a kiss for the purposes of a student short film. Soon, a lingering doubt sets in, confronting both of them with their preferences, threatening the brotherhood of their social circle, and, eventually, changing their lives.
Exclusive: In My Room
Right after its Venice world premiere, this new short by Mati Diop gets an exclusive MUBI release. Shot in her Paris studio during lockdown and based on recordings of her grandmother, Diop creates a melodramatic home movie that playfully blends themes of womanhood, transmission, and freedom.
After recently showcasing Jonathan Glazer’s new short, The Fall, MUBI presents his lockdown offering. Uniting some of today’s greatest dancers, and powered by Mica Levi’s hypnotic score, Strasbourg 1518 compellingly plays on the restless nature of our recent times.
David Oyelowo is unrecognisable in Ava DuVernay’s stirring, powerful biopic of Martin Luther King, Jr.
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.
Paul Verhoeven’s sleazy showbiz drama about a dancer trying to make it in Vegas is terrible or brilliant, depending on who you ask – or is it both?
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