MUBI Weekly Digest | 15th January 2022
James R | On 15, Jan 2022
MUBI kicks off the new year with another edition of its annual showcase of filmmaker debuts, from Bruno Dumont to Carlos Reygadas.
In the meantime, it’s your last chance to stream The Human Voice, Dear Babylon, Divorce Iranian Style and Claudette’s Star.
For MUBI Go subscribers, there’s a free cinema ticket available (in participating UK cinemas) for A Hero.
What’s new, coming soon and leaving soon? Read on for your weekly MUBI Digest.
This week on MUBI
Wildland – 15th January
An orphaned teen discovers her aunt is the head of a crime family in this supremely suspenseful Danish drama. Read our full review
Tokyo Sonata – 16th January
In a seemingly ordinary Japanese family, the father loses his job and conceals the truth. The eldest son in college hardly returns home. The youngest takes piano lessons without telling his parents. The mother, who knows she is supposed to keep the family together, can’t find the will to do so.
My American Uncle – 17th January
To illustrate his theory on the complexities of human behavior, Professor Laborit selects three destinies: Jean, a careerist middle class man, Janine, an actress of humble origins, and René, a farmer’s son who manages his own textile company. All face difficult choices in life-changing situations. Gérard Depardieu stars in Alain Resnais’ 1980 comedy.
Comets – 18th January
Three decades after their separation, Irina and Nana remain mesmerized by memories of earlier days. But when Irina returns to the small community she left—where Nana stayed to start a traditional family—the women must reconcile with the past and their complex feelings.
Galveston – 19th January
After surviving a setup by his criminal boss, Roy, a mob hitman, rescues a young and frightened sex worker who was being held captive, and flees with her to Galveston, Texas. There, the two find strength in each other as dangerous pursuers and the shadows of their pasts follow close behind.
Honey Cigar – 20th January
In 1993 Paris, a French Algerian teenager falls for a new classmate, only to realize for the first time how restrictive the rules of her patriarchal family are. As the terror of fundamentalism emerges in her homeland and her family crumbles, she explores the powers and dangers of her own desire.
Martin Eden – 21st January
Jack London’s novel is relocated to pre-war Naples in this epic adaptation with a standout lead turn from Luca Marinelli. Read our full review
Other new releases on MUBI
The Happiest Girl in the World
With his most recent feature Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn included on many best-of-2021 lists, MUBI takes us back to Radu Jude’s debut, a satire that’s a key work of the Romanian New Wave.
The Life of Jesus
Bruno Dumont’s 1997 debut follows Freddy, who is young, unemployed and suffers from epilepsy. He spends his days riding scooters with his friends or hanging out with his girlfriend, Marie. An Arab family arrives in town, setting off the racist prejudices of his gang. Marie ignores them and takes up with Kader, the immigrant boy.
Carlos Reygadas’ 2002 debut sees a cynical and disillusioned man travel from Mexico City to a remote canyon to prepare for his death. There he stays with a pious elderly widow in her rickety home. Although only a few words are spoken, the widow’s quiet humanity incites a reawakening of his desires and instincts for life.
What can we learn about a society from the way that it treats its lowest echelons, both in terms of humans and animals? In Rat Film, the catastrophic failures of urban society in Baltimore is explored via the brown Norway rat, dirty pest to man but also an ideal subject for experimental study.
As devout Jehovah’s Witnesses, Alex and Luisa and their mother Ivanna are united in The Truth. But when Luisa starts to question the Elders’ advice, she makes a transgression that could expel her from the congregation. Unless Ivanna and Alex can persuade her to return, they must shun her completely. Read our full review
Khalik Allah explores his mother’s home country, Jamaica, and invokes its beautiful, resilient, and rebellious spirit. Moving between different speakers, the film conjures up the island in a polyphony of voices, textures and tales, to capture the plurality of its overlapping worlds.
Andrea Arnold’s 2003 short follows a poor single mother of four who must figure out what to do with her children after the guy she fancies asks her on a date, determined not to let them become an obstacle in her pursuit of a relationship.
Andrea Arnold’s low-key thriller follows a CCTV operator who uses the camera to watch an ex-convict and eventually becomes obsessed with him.
A Swedish Love Story
Roy Andersson’s 1970 drama follows two adolescents meet and cautiously fall in love in beautiful surroundings during the peak of an idyllic Swedish summer. Oblivious to social boundaries, they innocently create their own milieu in contrast to the distorted relationships, disillusionment, and world-weariness of adult life around them.
Garrett Bradley’s Below Dreams follows the lives of three people—Elliott, newly arrived from NYC, single mother Leann, and unemployed father Jamaine—as they negotiate New Orleans’ streets to fulfill their dreams. But as each one faces the city’s realities, it gets clear that with change must also come sacrifice.
La Bouche de Jean-Pierre
After witnessing her mother’s suicide attempt, the young Mimi moves in temporarily with her aunt Solange in a council flat in the suburbs of Paris. But from the first night on, her sleep is disturbed by the arrival of Solange’s boyfriend, Jean-Pierre. Lucile Hadzihalilovic’s feature directorial career began with this 1996 drama.
Bye Bye Africa
Moussa Hassan is a filmmaker who has lived in France for 15 years and returns to Chad because his mother has died. There, he discovers the faltering state of the film industry and finds that cinemas have been replaced by video rooms. With his old friend, he documents the cause of this decline. The debut of Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, the first Chadian feature film director.
Jia Zhangke’s debut takes us back to 1997 in Fengyang. Xiao Wu is a pickpocket. Having never managed to get away from the streets like his friends, he finds himself alone with his troubles. A cop is out to get him and his love affair with local karaoke hostess Mei Mei is going nowhere. He realises it’s time to think about his future.
Banished by her husband and her village, Katalin Varga has no choice but to set off to find the real father of her son Orbán. Peter Strickland’s 2009 drama charts her journey across the Carpathians, where she decides to reopen a sinister chapter from her past and take revenge—leads her to a place to which she had vowed never to return.
Who better to spend Christmas Day with than the legendary Agnès Varda, whose humanism and wit are here paired with the optimistic vitality of photographer JR. Celebrating remote lives—as well as their own—with heart-warming playfulness, this irresistible duo enchanted the Croisette and Oscars alike!
The Big Short
The Big Short is a patronising, awkward and uneven comedy about the financial crisis. And, against all the odds, that’s a good thing.
Yorgos Lanthimos’ scary, witty tale of a dysfunctional Greek family is daring and brilliant.
It Must Be Heaven
Palestinian director-writer-star Elia Suleiman charms in these absurd yet beguiling quotidian vignettes that poignantly ponder statehood and home.
A charming fish-out-of-water comedy, this debut feature places local cultural anxieties on the therapist’s couch. Starring Golshifteh Farahani, Arab Blues maps the social landscapes of post-revolution Tunisia with wit and warmth.
Like Someone in Love
Iranian master Abbas Kiarostami took to the neon-glazed cityscapes of Tokyo for this 2012 drama about an old man and a young woman who meet in the city. She knows nothing about him, he thinks he knows her. He welcomes her into his home, she offers him her body. But the web that is woven between them in the space of twenty four hours bears no relation to the circumstances of their encounter.
House of Tolerance
Bertrand Bonello explores the transactional margins of sexuality in this 2011 drama set in the dying days of the 19th century.
In late 1960s Tokyo, Toru Watanabe is a student besotted with Naoko. But their love is complicated by the tragic suicide of their best friend years before. When Midori, a girl who is everything that Naoko is not, marches into his life, Watanabe is forced to choose between his past and his future. Vietnamese-French director Trần Anh Hùng (The Scent of Green Papaya) goes to Japan to adapt Haruki Murakami’s novel. He brings with him Jonny Greenwood’s music and Mark Lee Ping-bin’s photography to envelope you in Murakami’s melancholy romance of self-discovery.
The Great Beauty
Paolo Sorrentino’s beautiful satire is a swooning, scathing portrait of a city you can fall in love with, again and again.
A Night at the Opera
Using archive footage, Sergei Loznitsa revisits the Opéra de Paris’ gala evenings during the 1950s and ’60s. Between prestige and protocol, these events gathered the crème de la crème of the French and international elite, while crowds of ordinary people assembled to watch the spectacle from afar.
Jean Dujardin is a natural fit for this darkly offbeat number from Quentin Dupieux.
A Winter’s Tale
Éric Rohmer’s 1992 drama is set during one summer when the young Felicie and Charles fall deeply, passionately in love. Five years later, after accidentally giving him a false address, she is raising his child and drifting back and forth between two infatuated men with whom she’s unwilling, or unable, to settle down.
Gritt left Norway with the dream of becoming an actress, but failed to find fame in Hollywood and Berlin. Back in Oslo, she manages to get an internship at an underground theater company and secretly moves into their performance space, embarking on a mission to bury capitalism and the patriarchy.
The Prince of Nothingwood
Churning out B-movie magic on shoestring budgets in a war-torn country, Salim Shaheen is Afghanistan’s most popular and prolific filmmaker. Director Sonia Krunland follows this force of nature for this poignant documentary portrait.
Paolo Sorrentino tuns his gaze on Giulio Andreotti, arguably the most famous and notorious Italian politician of the post-war era, who was prime minister no less than seven times.
Aging punk diva Vera arrives in the Caribbean to direct an unfinished project by her beloved friend the late filmmaker Jean-Louis Jorge, alongside two old friends and her loyal choreographer. As preparations for the musical film begin, conflicts and death start to creep up on the haunted production.
Ali in Wonderland
Ali in Wonderland exposes in plain sight the condition of the female and male immigrant workers in and around Paris in the 1970s. It is a raging cry to French society, a place where, the documentary posits, exploitation and racism thrive, where domination and the colonial spirit live on.
Incident by a Bank
Long before he won the Palme d’Or for The Square, Swedish provocateur Ruben Östlund took home the Golden Bear from Berlin for this short. Reconstructing a real-life event in a single take, Incident by a Bank is a hilariously prickly examination of societal apathy and self-absorption.
The New Kid
Celebrating the misfits and the “losers,” Rudi Rosenberg’s charming coming-of-age film features mostly unknown young actors, whose spontaneity adds a fresh coat of paint to a familiar genre.
Voyage of Time: An IMAX Documentary
The 4K digital premiere of this rare version of Terrence Malick’s 2016 documentary. Decades in the making, this journey of discovery is a celebration of existence and the grand history of the cosmos, transporting audiences into a vast odyssey that spans the eons from the Big Bang to the dinosaur age to our present human world, and beyond.
This visually inventive voyage of magical realism is grounded in creativity, self-preservation and community. Read our full review
Clément, a film extra, is madly in love with Mona, a salesgirl in a sandwich bar. Mona has a secret that makes her elusive. When Clément is desperate to win her heart, Abel, his best and only friend, comes to the rescue. Soon after, a love triangle starts to unfold in Louis Garrel’s 2015 drama.
The world’s first stop-motion animation film is excavated as Chile drafts a new Constitution. The film shows a girl performing a ritual exorcism to free Chile from its feudal heritage. Among a dance of bones, organs, and body parts, the spirits of two damned Secretaries of State are invoked.
Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room
The inside story of one of history’s biggest business scandals, in which top executives of America’s 7th largest company walked away with over one billion dollars while investors and employees lost everything. A story of corporate greed and CEO hubris which foreshadowed the global financial crisis.
The Consequences of Love
Paolo Sorrentino’s 2004 crime drama follows Titta Di Girolamo, a 50-year-old Italian man, who lives in an anonymous hotel room in Switzerland. His time is spent smoking and observing the hotel’s denizens, constantly waiting for something to happen. What is his dark secret, and what is the story of the mysterious suitcases delivered to his door?
Justine, a.k.a. Junior, is a 13-year-old tomboy with pimples and her own brand of humor. She’s just a tad misogynous. After being diagnosed with stomach flu, Junior’s body undergoes a bizarre metamorphosis in Julia Ducournau’s 2011 short.
This Filthy World
John Waters’ one-man show celebrate the film career and obsessional tastes of the man William Burroughs once called ‘The Pope of Trash’. Waters speaks of his movies, his early artistic influences and his fascination with true crime, exploitation films, and the extremes of the contemporary art world.
Lean on Pete
Andrew Haigh’s quietly poignant coming-of-age tale gallops along at its own unique pace.
During the Troubles, Maeve returns to Belfast after a long absence in London. She stays in her family home with her sister Roisín and her parents. She also meets up with her ex-boyfriend Liam. Her arrival in the city stimulates a series of memories of childhood both in herself and other people.
A primal horror film from Japanese master Kaneto Shindo, this reimagining of a Buddhist folk tale is an expressionistic interrogation of the consequences of war.
Andreas Fontana’s Azor is the kind of directorial debut that astounds with its confidence and complexity. The film takes us into the wealthy elite of 1970s Argentina, where outsider Yvan (Fabrizio Rongione) arrives from Geneva. A private banker, he is there to replace a colleague who has mysteriously gone missing. Accompanied by his wife, he journeys into the heart of darkness where power, corruption and colonialism all linger in the shadows…
After his son runs over a man, successful politician Myung-hui persuades him to turn himself in. Following the death of his son, Joon-sik sees his life fall apart. When a woman who was there the night of the accident disappears, the two men will desperately search for her, but for different reasons.
Le Bel Indifferent
A volatile adaptation of a one-act Jean Cocteau play, Jacques Demy’s stylised chamber piece brims with crimson jealousy and rage.
The Blue Angel
With their seven film partnership, Josef von Sternberg and Marlene Dietrich traced a path of lush, scandalous romantic fantasies, of which The Blue Angel was their first. Respected schoolteacher Rath learns of his pupils’ infatuation with postcards depicting a nightclub songstress. To investigate the source of indecency, Rath goes to the Blue Angel nightclub and is fatefully seduced by the smoldering Lola-Lola, triggering the downward spiral of his life and fortune.
A seemingly perfect couple — a provocative stand-up comedian and internationally renowned opera singer — live glamorous lives in contemporary Los Angeles. However, when they welcome their daughter Annette into the world, her mysterious gifts will change their lives forever. Leos Carax, Adam Driver, Marion Cottilard and Sparks team up for this musical epic. Read our full review
025 Sunset Red
025 Sunset Red is a kind of quasi-autobiographical reckoning. An indiscernibility of then and now. Recollection and immediacy. The Basque Country and California. It’s a set of echoes of an upbringing by communist radicals, as a way of finding practical applications of the past in the present.
The Trouble with Being Born
Elli is an android and lives with a man she calls her father. Together they drift through the summer, swimming during the day until he takes her to bed at night. She shares his memories and anything else he programs her to recall. Yet, one night she sets off into the woods following a fading echo.
31-year-old Mi-so is barely getting by in Seoul. Her joys in life are: cigarettes, one glass of whiskey after work, and her poor boyfriend who dreams of becoming an artist. As cigarette prices and rent start to rise, Mi-so couch surfs with old friends while reconsidering her place in life.
The Killing of a Sacred Deer
Horrifying, entertaining, disturbing and funny, this dark satire is rivetingly awkward. Read our full review
Borrowing its title from a literary genre, the film acknowledges the indeterminacy of both fiction and the self. Field recordings made in New Zealand are heard as women speak with each other about motherhood, abortion, breakups and anxiety.
Night Comes On
After serving a stint in juvenile detention, Angel, 18, is thrown back onto the streets. Her little sister Abby is stuck in foster care while her dad, who murdered their mother, roams free. But Angel has a plan. Authentically shot on location in New York, Jordana Spiro’s raw and tender coming-of-age debut, starring Dominique Fishback, draws attention to how young, queer Black women are repeatedly failed by state institutions.
Billie is a 15-year-old girl who fantasizes Billie Holiday as a sort of fairy godmother and plays mother to her younger brother, Nico. Meeting up with their friend Malik, they run away from home to roam free from their parents’ eye, discovering freedom and enchantment among boats and railway tracks.
Long suppressed due to its confrontation of racial oppression in Thatcher’s England, Franco Rossi’s reggae drama follows a young dancehall DJ in South London, who pursues his musical ambitions, battling fiercely against the racism and xenophobia of employers, neighbours, police and the National Front.
A middle-age couple visit a temple in Chuncheon where they spent their first night together 30 years prior. On the way, one of them cannot find their phone and hurries to find it. As the night unravels, they will come across an ex-lover, a friend, and a young couple who resemble them 30 years ago.
The Third Wife
In this sensual 2018 debut from Ash Mayfair, the pastoral sumptuousness of rural life in feudal Vietnam belies the systematic cruelty of patriarchal traditions and values. Brimming with forbidden yearning, the film’s portrayal of women’s subjugation remains relevant still.
When war is called peace, when propaganda is uttered as truth, when hatred is declared to be love, then life itself begins to resemble death. In the Donbass, a region of Eastern Ukraine, a hybrid war takes place, involving an open armed conflict alongside mass scale robberies perpetrated by gangs.
Accidental Luxuriance of the Translucent Watery Rebus
Martin tried to fight the system, and now he’s on the run. Sara is a conceptual artist. Together they join the revolutionary commune in the countryside. The police are on their trail. Inspector Ambroz knows the right questions are more important than the answers. Because maybe none of this is true.
Friends and Strangers
When Ray and Alice bump into each other, they impulsively decide to go camping. On the trip, a series of bumbling romantic attempts fills the air with awkward tension. Back in Sydney, the mishaps continue as Ray hopes to secure a wedding videography gig at the home of a bizarre potential client.
This enjoyably grubby B-movie from Steven Soderbergh is a superb showcase for Claire Foy.
Moments Like This Never Last
A graffiti artist and prolific photographer, Dash Snow used the streets of pre-9/11 NY as his canvas. Vividly capturing his decadent scene through intimate home movies and insider testimony, Cheryl Dunn’s beautifully edited portrait is at once a vital time-capsule and a spirited ode to outsider art.
Gayoung, a filmmaker, visits Seongbum, an art instructor, to consult on her affair with a married man. The two were once lovers of each other, though that does not stop Seongbum from becoming a love counselor for Gayoung. Yet, they don′t just consult, but begin exploring new feelings for each other.
In medieval Córdoba, Spain, under Arab rule, a secular and multicultural society flourished. There, young philosopher Ibn Rushd (known in the West as Averroes) is lured away from his decadent lifestyle and indoctrinated into a fundamentalist sect.
A woman lies awake at night. Nearby, a set of theatre backdrops unspools itself, unveiling two alternate landscapes. Upon the woman’s blue sheet, a flicker of light reflects and illuminates her realm of insomnia.
Prano Bailey-Bond’s striking feature directorial debut is a gloriously atmospheric trip into retro-horror chills. Read our full review
The First Lap
Kim Dae-hwan won the Best Emerging Director award at Locarno for this playful and moving drama. Steeped in the politics and societal expectations of South Korea, and with echoes of Hong Sang-soo’s formal ingenuity, The First Lap is a sharp portrait of young adulthood and stagnant relationships.
Before his more fantastical and spectacular stretch of work throughout the ‘70s, Jacques Rivette followed his Nouvelle Vague breakthrough Paris Belongs to Us with this adaptation of Denis Diderot’s controversial 18th-century novel—starring an entrancing Anna Karina at the height of her fame.
80,000 Years Old
It’s summer in Normandy. Céline works on an archeological site and takes the opportunity to spend a weekend in her childhood village that she has not seen for a long time. Her archaeological research mingles with more or less probable reunions during her walks.
The Reluctant Fundamentalist
Mira Nair’s faithful adaptation of Mohsin Hamid’s bestselling novel is a piercing take on xenophobia and alienation in post 9/11 U.S.A. Profound in its analysis of capitalism and fundamentalism, this drama is enriched by Riz Ahmed’s succinct portrayal of the Muslim protagonist’s emotional dualities.
Alex, an ex-con and the teenage son of a murdered criminal, is coerced by two former associates of his father into stealing the antidote to a deadly, mysterious STD. As he falls for the crime boss’s mistress, a rival gang lurks in the shadows, also intent upon securing the precious serum.
Bibiane, 25, is successful but finds her life lacks purpose. Following several unfortunate events, she gets drunk and hits a man with her car. She can’t recall anything but soon learns she is to blame for his death. Just as she is about to end it all, she meets Evian, the son of the man she killed.
The Bacchus Lady
Youn Yuh-jung gained international fame after winning an Oscar for her masterful performance in her Hollywood debut, Minari. In The Bacchus Lady, the actor shows why she is a cherished fixture of Korean cinema, bringing subtlety and poignancy to this compelling portrait of an elderly sex worker.
Play It Ssfe
Winner of a Grand Jury Prize at SXSW, Play It Safe is an ingeniously tense interrogation of unconscious racism in seemingly liberal spaces. Shot on 16mm, the film’s audacious finale stamps a visceral exclamation point on a remarkable calling card for director Mitch Kalisa and actor Jonathan Ajayi.
The Sweet Hereafter
Arriving in a small town after a tragic accident, a big-city lawyer driven by his own demons stirs up the anger of the members of the community in Atom Egoyan’s powerful drama.
Living in Alexandria amid the harsh reality of World War II, teenager Yehia retreats into a world of fantasy. Obsessed with Hollywood, he dreams of studying filmmaking in America. However, when he falls in love and discovers the lies of the European occupation, he begins to reevaluate his identity.
A little miracle of a short from Iranian master Jafar Panahi, this beautiful film finds echoes of his 2018 feature 3 Faces. A moving examination of performance and personal liberty in the face of religious oppression, Hidden is a tender and intimate mystery that builds to a piercing conclusion.
Jennifer Kent’s storybook horror brings a devastating sadness to the genre’s scares.
The Return of the Prodigal Son
This raw psychological drama about an engineer unable to adjust to the world around him following his suicide attempt is at heart a scathing portrait of social alienation and moral compromise.
With the death of her long-time director, Chan-sil, a film producer, is now unemployed. While working as a cleaning lady at an actress’ house, she meets a young man. Attracted to him, Chan-sil realizes old anxieties are about to emerge: her already gone-youth, messed-up love life, and broken career.
In a world inhabited by humans and rare mythical creatures known as “Cryptids”, zookeeper Lauren brings these beings under the protection of her sanctuary—the Cryptozoo. As she tracks down a dream-eating beast, she enters into a dangerous mission to find it before it is captured by the military.
Poignant memoirs, Bressonian acting, and jaw-dropping chiaroscuros make Eloy Enciso’s study in fascism an entrancing journey into the depths of the night.
A technological civilisation takes three intelligent salamander creatures captive to conduct experiments on them. The experiments go awry and the salamander creatures wreak havoc in the city of humans.
The Love Witch
This 60s sexploitation homage is a unique, wry and empowering horror-comedy.
On her 11th birthday, Angeliki jumps off the balcony and dies. While the police and Social Services try to discover the reason for this apparent suicide, Angeliki’s family insist that it was an accident. What is the secret Angeliki took with her? Why does her family try to “forget” her and move on? Sweeping five awards at the Venice Film Festival, Alexandros Avranas’s 2013 drama is an under-seen gem from the Greek Weird Wave film movement.
During a summer vacation, Okju and Dongju move into their grandpa’s house. While Dongju adapts to his new home, Okju feels awkward about this new environment. Once their soon-to-be-divorced aunt also moves in, and as Okju spends time with her family, the house and her grandpa start to grow on her.
During Argentina’s dictatorship (1976 -1983), several civil accomplices contributed to repression and were never taken to justice. In 2015, a report was issued with cases of proven corporate responsibility. Jonathan Perel reads excerpts from the report in front of many of these companies’ factories.
I Like Life a Lot
The drawings of this film were made by gypsy children at a school in a small town. Interviews, drawings and paintings tell us about their lives and experiences.
Burning an Illusion
A young Black woman in England becomes increasingly frustrated with her life with a lazy, demanding boyfriend. With the help of friends, she seeks something better, and begins to question her attitude to love, life, and desire for middle-class respectability and security through marriage. The groundbreaking debut from Menelik Shabazz, Burning an Illusion was the first British film to feature a Black female lead.
MUBI continues its Hal Hartley retrospective with this 2006 thriller, a 10-years-later continuation of Hartley’s Henry Fool. Fay Grim is coerced by a CIA agent to try and locate notebooks that belonged to her ex-husband. Published in them is information that could compromises the security of the U.S., causing Fay to first head to Paris to fetch them…
Clio Barnard’s remarkable debut, which paved the way for the equally excellent The Selfish Giant, is an ambitious, experimental docudrama about playwright Andrea Dunbar.
Péter Szoboszlay’s 1976 animated short is set in the allegorical space of an abandoned room. A frustrated mind feels the distorting effects of aggression and paranoia—including visions of butterflies, the Mona Lisa, and nuclear fallout.
Without a doubt the best pregnant serial killer movie you’ve ever seen, Alice Lowe’s Prevenge is a masterpiece of maternal nightmares. Read our full review
Ali Abbasi’s 2016 horror follows privileged couple Louise and Kasper, who live off the grid in a home in the woods. Unable to conceive, they arrange for their Romanian maid Elena to act as a surrogate mother and be paid for it. But as Elena becomes mysteriously sicker while pregnant, fears mount about what may be growing inside her.
Boy Meets Girl
Alex, 22, wants to become a filmmaker. His girlfriend, Florence, has just left him for his best friend Thomas. After trying to strangle him, Alex gives up and wanders around Paris, where he sees Mireille being left by her boyfriend. Later on, the two tormented souls run into each other at a party. MUBI continues its Leos Carax retrospective with this 1984 drama.
Preparations to be Together for an Unknown Period of Time
Lili Horvát’s mystery finds a neurosurgeon in fugue to a romance that she may have imagined. Read our full review
André owes money to a crime boss. In despair, he heads to a bridge over the Seine, intending to commit suicide. But there he sees a woman apparently preparing to end her life too. The two end up spending a memorable summer night in nearly deserted Paris, where she exposes herself as a true angel.
In the middle of the Aegean Sea, on a luxury yacht, six men on a fishing trip decide to play a game. During this game, things will be compared. Things will be measured. Friends will become rivals and rivals will become hungry. But when the game is over, the man who wins will be the best man.
The Guerilla Fighter
After escaping from police custody, the political activist Sumit is on the run. He receives shelter in a luxurious apartment owned by a sensitive young upper-class woman. Being in solitary confinement, Sumit starts to question his ideological path and slowly begins to protest against his own party.
Anne at 13,000ft
Anne has a seemingly stable life as a daycare worker. But after skydiving for her best friend’s bachelorette party, the ground shifts beneath her feet. The pressures of her daily life threaten to overwhelm her, and when she meets Matt, she begins to push the limits of what’s socially acceptable. Read our full review
Ibrahima is without work and has a large family to support. One day, he receives a money order from his nephew in Paris. However, when he goes to cash the cheque, he is asked for his identity card, which he does not have. Thus, an absurd foray into the corrupt world of Senegalese bureaucracy begins.
Youssef Chahine: The Land
A rural Egyptian village unsuccessfully attempts to retain access to its water. Told that they can only irrigate their land a few days a month, several of the villagers are arrested for overwatering. Although the outside threat originally seems to unite the villagers, divisions resurface.
A group of refugees adjust to life on a remote Scottish island in Ben Sharrock’s delightfully deadpan comedy-drama. Read our full review
Youssef Chahine: Cairo Station
In Cairo’s chaotic central station, Qinawi, an impoverished newspaper vendor, develops an infatuation with the free-spirited Hannuma, who dodges the authorities to peddle soft drinks to passengers. When he faces rejection, Qinawi’s obsession becomes dangerous as he falls into a state of insanity.
A woman is confronted by a stranger, who believes she’s been edited out of their story.
Dennis is a quietly handsome and bookish college student. His older brother, Bill, is a rough ladies’ man and thief. Thrown together to search for their long-lost dad, they confront their expectations of each other, themselves, and their attitudes towards women.
David Lynch: The Art of Life
Filmmaker David Lynch takes us on a journey through his formative years. From an idyllic upbringing in small-town America to the dark streets of Philadelphia, we follow Lynch as he traces the events that have helped shape his career, while gaining a greater understanding of the revered director. Read our full review
In 1936, Irèn, a quiet Jewish shop girl is employed by her rich but sterile friend Szilvia to have a baby for her with her husband Ákos, so that the resulting child inherits the vast fortune. Their plan goes well, but as relationships between them change and fascism rises, many challenges emerge.
Scenes with Beans
An extra-terrestrial arrives on a planet inhabited by beans and observes their daily lives, including a traffic accident, farming, a football match, and the launch of a spaceship.
The “perfect” life of a Polish fitness influencer comes under scrutiny in Magnus von Horn’s gripping and stylish drama.
Dona Flor and her Two Husbands
Dona Flor’s passionate yet irresponsible husband Vadinho drops dead while dancing in the streets. Seeking a stable life, the widowed Dona remarries a respectable pharmacist shortly after. However, when her new love life turns out to be less than satisfying, the ghost of her late husband returns. Made during Brazil’s military dictatorship, Bruno Barreto’s magic realist feature propelled Sônia Braga from soap star to national deity.
Downstream to Kinshasa
Over six days in June 2000, the city of Kisangani was the scene of deadly violence between the Ugandan and Rwandan armies. Victims of the war have fought for recognition and compensation since. Now, they take a long journey down the Congo River to voice their claims and seek justice in Kinshasa.
The Unbelievable Truth
Charting a new generation lost amid the tides of corporate America, Hal Hartley’s witty, unpredictable debut follows the college-bound Audrey, a young woman who is preoccupied with the threat of nuclear destruction and falls in love with a handsome and mysterious ex-con who is rumoured to have murdered the father of his high school sweetheart.
In 2018, Jean-Gabriel P?riot collaborated with 10 students in a film class at a high school in the suburbs of Paris on a project that unites cinema with politics. The students restaged scenes of strikes, resistance, and labour disputes from films made post May 1968. Our Defeats assembles the results.
Youssef Chahine: The Blazing Sun
Ahmed, a young agricultural engineer, helps the farmers produce a superior sugar cane crop. Taher Pasha, a wealthy land owner, feels threatened by his recent production prosperity. Ahmed is in love with Pasha’s daughter, but due to their fathers’ rivalry, he is compelled to hide their relationship.
In contemporary Mexico City, a lavish high society wedding is interrupted by violent rioters who take the house by siege. It soon becomes apparent that this seemingly random attack is part of a violent, nationwide uprising, as one political system collapses and a more harrowing replacement arises. Fresh from cinemas, Michel Franco’s latest is released exclusively by MUBI online.
Lav Diaz’s winner at Venice’s Orrizonti sidebar in 2020 sees three gold mine workers leave their jobs to travel home through the unforgiving wilderness of the mythical island of Hugaw. When they arrive at the end of their arduous journey, they see that a tragic event has shaken their village. As buried histories emerge, a sense of psychosis invades the scene.
Wife of a Spy
Winner of Best Director at the 2020 Venice Film Festival, Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s drama is set in 1940, when the population of Japan is divided over its entry into World War II. Satoko, the wife of a fabric merchant, is devoted to her husband, but is beginning to suspect he’s up to something. Soon she allows herself to be drawn into a game in which she enigmatically conceals her intentions.
Selected for the 2020 Venice Film Festival, Li Dongmei’s debut follows 12-year-old Xiaoxian, who remembers what happened over seven days in her village in rural China during the Summer of 1992. During those seven days, she witnesses three deaths and two births, including the death of her own mother who dies giving birth to her fourth sister.
Fucking with Nobody
Hannaleena Hauru’s comedy premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 2020. It follows Hanna, who teams up with her sister to create a parody Instagram romance with a young actor and raise awareness on how hungry society is for romantic narratives. Once her love story begins, however, Hanna finds herself tangled up in the unresolved past with her “you were never my boyfriend” friend Lasse.
From dawn to dusk, a few hours in the life of Monsieur Oscar, a mysterious man who journeys from one life to the next, while being chauffeured around Paris in a limousine by a loyal driver. He is, in turn, assassin, beggar, monster, family man. He seems to be playing roles—but where are the cameras?
Ex-con Kermek and his beloved Eva want to leave their crime-infested lives on the Kazakh steppes behind. He has a dream: building a movie theater in the mountains. Will Kermek’s love of Alain Delon be strong enough to keep them out of the violent clutches of the mafia?
Visit, or Memories and Confessions
The director, Manoel de Oliveira, is in the Porto house where he has lived for decades, preparing to leave due to mounting debts. He addresses the audience directly, discussing family history, cinema, and architecture, sharing home movies, and reenacting his run-in with the military dictatorship.
Only God Forgives
Ryan Gosling impresses in Nicolas Winding Refn’s indulgent piece of Bangkok gothic.
Lions Love (… and Lies)
Warhol superstar Viva floats into a ménage à trois with James and Gerome, the two creators of the rock musical Hair, as they live in a rented house in the sun-soaked Hollywood hills. They delight in one another’s bodies while musing on love, stardom, and politics.
The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears
A woman disappears. Her husband investigates the strange circumstances surrounding her disappearance. Has she left him? Is she dead? As he proceeds with his inquiries, his apartment becomes more of and more of an an abyss which seems to have no way out…
In a highly stylised city, a wealthy utopia exists above a bleak underworld where mistreated workers live. When privileged youth Freder discovers the grim scene below, he sets out to help the workers and befriends the rebellious teacher Maria. One of the most iconic films ever made, Fritz Lang’s dystopian sci-fi classic is as thrilling today as it was on release in 1927.
Danila returns from his army service and is unemployed. On his mother’s advice, he leaves for St Petersburg where his older brother Viktor has been making good money. However, when he finds him, Viktor turns out to be a contract killer. Soon, Danila agrees to carry out an assignment for him.
As the way to Europe remained blocked for Syrian artist Amel Alzakout, she decided to cross the Mediterranean Sea with smugglers. However, just before reaching the coast of Lesbos, the overcrowded boat she was on capsized. With a waterproof camera strapped to her wrist, Amel recorded the events.
Cecilie and Joachim, a young couple in love, are soon to be married. But all of a sudden everything is turned upside down when Joachim is paralyzed in an accident, and Cecilie falls in love with the husband of the woman who caused the accident.
When You’re Strange: A Film About the Doors
The chemistry of four artists made The Doors one of America’s most influential rock bands. With previously unseen footage shot from their formation in 1965 to Jim Morrison’s death in 1971, the film follows the band through their career, providing insight into the revolutionary impact of their music.
A film shot during the summer of 1968 in Oakland, California around the meetings organised by the Black Panthers Party to free Huey Newton, one of their leaders, and to turn his trial into a political debate. They tried and succeeded in catching America’s attention.
Lina from Lima
Lina is a Peruvian woman who works as a domestic helper for a wealthy Chilean family. She earns enough to make ends meet, and to send money back to her son in Lima. But when she prepares for her annual trip home for Christmas, she comes to the stark realization that no one is really waiting for her.
A pack of dogs run wild through the streets of Budapest in this captivating revenge parable from Kornél Mundruczó, an idiosyncratic allegory on authority, rebellion, power, and protest. Rise of the Planet of the Dogs. If your ears have already perked up, then White God is for you. Read our full review
24 Hour Party People
A vibrant portrait of the Manchester music scene during the mid-to-late 1970s, through the eyes of TV presenter Tony Wilson, founder of Factory Records, as he introduces the world to such notable musical acts as Joy Division, New Order, and The Happy Mondays.
In a Brazilian village infested with piranhas, Nanã and Mel are fast growing into adolescence as they dream of ways of protecting themselves
An amnesia pandemic is the backdrop for this poignant tragicomedy. The deadpan debut of former Yorgos Lanthimos collaborator Christos Nikou, Apples is an allegorical meditation on memory, identity and technology. Read our full review.
When her mother falls ill, Eve is sent to live with her estranged father’s relatives, a bourgeois family living in a mansion. As a series of intergenerational back-stabbings threaten to tear the family apart, the family fails to notice that their new arrival has a sinister secret of her own. Michael Haneke’s ensemble drama is a dark, biting satire. Read our full review
Jules, an opera enthusiast, is particularly enchanted by American diva Cynthia Hawkins, who refuses to be recorded. So enamored with her, he makes an illegal tape at her concert. But when the tape is confused with one implicating a police chief with the mob, he must use all his ingenuity to survive.
The Harder They Come
In partnership with Cinema Rediscovered, MUBI presents Jamaica’s first feature film: a restored cult classic that helped make reggae music popular worldwide.
Returning to the water park of his childhood, Guillaume Brac’s graceful documentary sees the seemingly mundane recreational space as an urban oasis, a refuge from the hustle and bustle of Paris. Underneath the playfulness, however, is a commentary on immigration in France.
All Hands on Deck
A warm summer evening in Paris: Félix meets Alma by chance. They laugh, dance, and spend the night in a park. But she is about to go on a family vacation and their time together is cut short. On an impulse, Félix decides to surprise her where she is holidaying and enrols a friend in the adventure.
Aubrey Plaza is terrific as a creatively blocked filmmaker in this engaging and thought-provoking indie thriller. Read our full review
Věra, a bored housewife with a defiant son and an unappreciative husband, seeks an escape from her frustrations in an extramarital affair. Meanwhile, the headstrong gymnast Eva Bosáková trains for the 1962 World Championship in Prague. Her lack of motivation prompts her coach to put pressure on her.
Salut Les Cubains
A photo montage of Cubans filmed by Agnès Varda during her visit to Cuba in 1963, four years after Fidel Castro came to power. This black & white documentary explores their post-revolution culture and society while making use of 1500 pictures (out of 4000!) the filmmaker took while on the island.
Valeria is 17 and pregnant. She lives in Puerto Vallarta with Clara, her half sister. Valeria has not wanted her long-absent mother, April, to find out about her pregnancy, but due to the economic strain Clara decides to call their mother.
Welcome II The Terrordome
In the near future, black residents living in the Terrordome ghetto battle oppression from powerful whites. Black Rad fights for black power after his wife’s death while gangster Spike engages in an illicit affair with a white woman.
An account of the musical journey and ongoing legacy of Joy Division, the influential Manchester post-punk rock band of the late 1970s. Features interviews with the surviving band members (now known as New Order) and never-before-seen live performance footage and newly discovered audio tapes.
Diary for My Children
This deeply personal work explores Mészáros’ own experiences via Juli, a young woman returning home to Budapest from the Soviet Union where her exiled parents had died. Scarred by the wounds of the past, she’s repulsed to see the very same spectre of socialist oppression now rife in her homeland.
Hotel New York
Jackie Raynal returned to filmmaking in 1981, over a decade since Deux fois, with the autobiographical tale New York Story — later expanded into a feature as Hotel New York (1984) — which featured both her and her husband Sidney Geffen as themselves.
The Cloud in Her Room
Zhao Muzi went back to her hometown Hangzhou for spring festival. Her parents divorced years ago, her mother is dating a foreigner now while her father started a new family and had a new kid.
The Human Voice
This scathingly witty and sumptuously performed short film is a superbly stylish English-language debut for Pedro Almodóvar. Read our full review
In a dystopian world dominated by an oppressive regime, a woman, Jessica, rescues orphaned boys and gives them love and understanding, offering them an escape from their violent past. Bound by a united hope for peace and harmony, this matriarchal family fight for a better future.
Working with renowned cinematographer Hélène Louvart and chronicling three generations of women, director Laura Schroeder expertly creates an atmosphere of eerie unease in this subtly suspenseful and foreboding family drama. Starring real-life mother-daughter duo Isabelle Huppert and Lolita Chammah.
Freedom Fields follows three women and their football team over five years in post-revolution Libya. As the country descends into war, “Determination, Will, Strength” is their motto. Community is key in this intimate story of hope, struggle, joy, and sisterhood.
The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki
Bittersweet and shot through with the romance of defeat, this unconventional boxing movie is knock-out cinema. Read our full review
The Prostitutes of Lyon Speak
Approximately two hundred sex workers occupied the church of Saint-Nizier, in Lyon, in the spring of 1975. They speak of their personal stories, their relationships to society, their labour conditions, and their demands to stop police and social harassment.
One day, air conditioners in the Angolan capital Luanda start to mysteriously fall from the buildings. When security guard Matacedo is told to get his overheating boss an airco unit by end of day, he embarks on a mission that brings him into contact with the eccentric owner of an electronics store.
Two men use a landowner’s cow for their business venture in Kelly Reichardt’s superlative period drama about male friendship, capitalism and creativity. Read our full review
This low-key coming-of-age drama is a gorgeous, generous showcase for two contrasting, complex women. Read our full review
Ari Folman followed the Oscar-nominated Waltz With Bashir with this striking adaptation of Stanisław “Solaris” Lem’s novella. Folman blends live-action with hallucinatory animation for a vivid, sci-fi satire – beginning with Robin Wright agreeing to be scanned by Miramount so that the film studio has the rights to her digital image.
Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project
Matt Wolf’s engaging, reverential documentary explores the story of a woman who recorded US news for over 30 years. Read our full review
Paula Beer plays a water nymph who can’t escape her fate in Christian Petzold’s beautifully made fantasy romance.
White on White
Late-19th century: Pedro arrives in Tierra del Fuego to photograph a landowner’s wedding. In capturing his future wife’s beauty, Pedro betrays the forces dominating these lands. Unable to escape, he becomes a participant in a new society being built through the genocide of the Selknam people.
Nadia, 23, decides to retire from professional swimming after the Olympic Games in order to escape a life of sacrifice. After her final race, she drifts out of control with nights of excess, but this momentary elation is unable to hide her inner struggle: defining her identity outside of sports.
An American woman (Joan Allen), trapped in a loveless marriage with a devious politician, meets a Lebanese man (Sam Neill) living in exile. They begin a passionate, carefree affair, despite a conflict between their illicit love and religious beliefs, and travel from London to Belfast, Beirut and Havana in Sally Potter’s vivid drama.
After surviving Auschwitz, a former cabaret singer, her face disfigured and reconstructed, returns to her war-ravaged town to find a husband who may or may not have betrayed her. Without recognising her, he asks her to help him claim his wife’s inheritance. She agrees, becoming her own doppelganger.
A feature-length collection of six animated short films by Lewis Klahr, combining collage animation with mid-century comic books, pop art, and magazines to explore “the pastness of the present”.
The Female Closet
Using groundbreaking research, newly discovered home movies, and archival photographs, and other visual sources, The Female Closet. is a cultural interrogation of the closeted and not-so-closeted lives of three women artists.
A highlight of 2020’s Toronto International Film Festival and SXSW, and featuring a standout lead performance from emerging actor-comedian Rachel Sennott, Emma Seligman’s bold, hilarious debut feature is a darkly playful comedy of chaos about a young bisexual woman grappling with tradition and independence over the course of one climactic day-long shiva. Read our review.
Joanna Reposi Garibaldi’s winner of the Teddy Award for Best Documentary at 2019 Berlinale depicts a pioneering figure in Latin America’s LGBTQ+ movement and a tireless fighter who continued to speak out until the very end of his life. His sharp-tongued, poetic texts and provocative performances made him one of South America’s most important contemporary artists. In dictatorial Chile under Pinochet, Lemebel expressed things that only few dared to say.
The city of Aquilea has fallen under siege by sinister forces. A group of middle-aged men, led by a somewhat older man, resolve to mount clandestine resistance to the invaders and defend their city. Meetings are held, maps are studied, strategies are proposed—but can the invasion really be overcome?
This filmed epistolary conversation between two acclaimed filmmakers blends digital and Super 8 footage, new material and family home movies, to form a reflection on family, history, motherhood, and current politics.
In 1980s East Germany, Barbara is a Berlin doctor banished to a country medical clinic for applying for an exit visa. Deeply unhappy with her reassignment and fearful of her co-workers as possible Stasi informants, Barbara stays aloof, especially from the good natured clinic head, Andre. MUBI’s Christian Petzold retrospective continues with this 2012 drama.
The debut film by Lee Isaac Chung (Minari), Munyurangabo (2007) is a powerful and tender tale of a friendship between two teenagers as they deal with the effects of the Rwandan genocide. Quiet and authentic, the film also features a poem by Poet Laureate Edouard Uwayo.
A darkly comic giallo-esque romance, torturously literalising all the dynamics of S&M, while accommodating the persistence of trauma.
An erotic drama about love and loneliness, it follows a man as he becomes obsessed with a dominatrix met via video chat, played by Uncut Gems star Julia Fox.
2 Days in Paris
Julie Delpy’s delightfully prickly romantic comedy follows Marion, a bohemian French photographer, and Jack, a neurotic American, a couple living in New York and travelling around Europe. When they make a stopover in Marion’s hometown, Paris, the romantic trip takes a crooked turn as Jack meets her offbeat family and learns about her past.
After being introduced to a charismatic man, 16-year-old Jamie becomes friends with him. As the relationship grows so do Jamie’s suspicions, until he finds his world threatened by both his loyalty for, and fear of, his newfound father figure, John Bunting: Australia’s most notorious serial killer.
Sergei Loznitsa returns to take us back to Moscow, March 1953: in the days following the death of Joseph Stalin, countless citizens flooded the Red Square to mourn their leader’s loss and witness his burial. Though the procession was captured in detail by hundreds of cameramen, their footage has remained largely unseen until now. Read our full review
The Two of Them
Mari has a narrow-minded man for a husband, and Juli is fleeing her passionate marriage with an uncontrollable alcoholic. Both passing through a marital crisis, the two women turn to each other for comfort, and each of them gains necessary insights into her own life in seeing the other’s struggles.
Kelly Reichardt’s second feature follows two old friends, Kurt and Mark, who reunite for a weekend camping trip in the Cascade mountain range east of Portland, Oregon. When they arrive at their final destination, a hot spring deep in the forest, they must confront the divergent paths they have taken in life.
Olivier Assayas captures the uncertainty of the digital age in a haunting drama of isolation.
A winner at Venice Film Festival, and Ukraine’s official Oscar® submission for Best International Feature Film, Atlantis is a post-apocalyptic drama with an unexpectedly sweet love story at its core and dark humor around the edges.
This unique documentary follows the daily duties of the mayor of Ramallah in the midst of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. Warm and full of humour, but with a strong political stance.
An operatic vampire tale from Park Chan-wook, this grand, tragic story an equal parts astonishing, romantic, and devastating.
Artist Anna Odell conducts a social experiment in which she aims to challenge gender roles in our society. In a purpose-built set, she confronts herself with the actor and masculine icon Mikael Persbrandt, and invites seven other actors to live with them and act as alter egos of herself and Mikael. Also available is Odell’s The Reunion.
In Istanbul, a day on the verge of a country-wide power surge unfolds with four characters—a mother whose son is in prison, a young woman committed to dancing, a female activist-artist, and a cunning middle man—all in a neighbourhood undergoing a process of gentrification for the “New Turkey”. Azra Deniz Okyay’s electrifying Venice prize-winner is a politically charged snapshot that reveals the rebellious rhythms of Istanbul’s ghettos with a focus on gender and social politics.
You’ll hate every second – but you won’t stop watching this horribly gripping thriller. Read our full review
Terry Gilliam’s darkly funny dystopian fantasy about a low-level bureaucrat Sam Lowry (Jonathan Pryce) is eerily, brilliantly prescient.
IWOW: I Walk on Water
Returning to the intersection of 125th Street and Lexington Avenue in East Harlem, Khalik Allah centres his new film on his long-time friendship with Frenchie, a homeless Haitian man, while also documenting his recent life: his relationships with his former girlfriend and an inner circle of friends.
Songs My Brothers Taught Me
Beautifully photographed in the badlands of the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota, Chloé Zhao’s debut is a wistful and delicately observed tale of loss and familial bonds, featuring a wonderful cast of non-professional actors.
Among the guests who come to the mansion of aristocratic landowner Nikolai over Christmas are a politician, a young countess, and a general with his wife. They dine and discuss topics such as progress and morality. As the debate becomes more heated, cultural differences become increasingly apparent. The Berlinale-winning latest from Cristi Puiu.
Black Pond (2018)
A double from documentarian Jessica Sarah Rinland begins with an odyssey across a common land in the south of England, told through the hands of the members of the Natural History Society who currently occupy it. After two years of filming, the rushes were shown to the society — their memories and responses were recorded and used as the film’s narration.
Gianfranco Rosi: Notturno
Shot in Iran, Kurdistan, Syria and Lebanon over the course of three turbulent years, it is an intimate and devastating depiction of the civilian populations who have no choice but to live on the frontlines. Told with compassion, grace and humanism, this is a breathtaking cinematic journey.
Charlie Shackleton’s essay dissecting high school movies is a smart, entertaining ode to the teen movie legacy. Read our full review
Alex Ross Perry: The Color Wheel
JR, an aspiring news-anchor, forces her younger brother Colin to embark on a road trip to move her belongings out of her professor-turned-lover’s place. Traveling through New England, they uncomfortably run into old school-mates or revisit familial history from which they have long since diverged.
The fates of an unlucky pig farmer, a feisty home-owner defending her property, a lovestruck busboy, a disenchanted rich girl, and an American expat pursuing the Chinese Dream converge and collide as thousands of dead pigs are found floating down the Huangpu River, towards a modernizing Shanghai. Don’t miss the rare chance to catch this Sundance-winning debut from Birds of Prey director Cathy Yan. Read our full review
Last chance to stream: Titles leaving MUBI soon
Le Bel Indifférent
Available until: 21st January
Available until: 21st January
Le sabotier du Val de Loire
Available until: 21st January
Available until: 21st January
The Human Voice
Available until: 22nd January