MUBI Weekly Digest | 25th July 2020
Staff Reporter | On 25, Jul 2020
MUBI makes one of its most impressive exclusive acquisitions to date with the addition of So Long, My Son this weekend. It’s followed by the equally brilliant The Diving Bell and the Butterfly – a double-bill of powerful dramas rooted in real life.
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 – don’t miss your chance to catch Mulholland Drive and Eden before they’re removed this weekend.
What’s new, coming soon and leaving soon on the subscription service? This is your weekly MUBI Digest:
This week on MUBI
So Long, My Son – 25th July
China’s one-child policy is the historical backdrop for this sweeping chronicle of family and loss, a journey at once intimate and epic between a tragic past and a resilient present. Read our full review
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly – 26th July
Based on true events, this film tells the story of wealthy magazine editor Jean-Dominique Bauby, who after a stroke is left almost entirely paralyzed. Unable to move or speak, he retreats into his mind, but after learning to communicate by blinking his left eye, he begins to tell his story.
Brazil: Once There Was Brasilia – 28th July
In 1959, disgraced intergalactic agent WA4 receives a mission: to come to the Earth and kill the president Juscelino Kubitschek on the day of Brasília’s inauguration. But his ship is lost in time and lands in 2016 in Ceilândia—a Black suburb of Brasília—on the verge of Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment.
Again Once Again – 29th July
Romina, on a break from her boyfriend, stays in Buenos Aires with her mother and her son. Trying to figure out who she is after three years of all-consuming love for her boy and a demanding relationship, she sees friends, discovers the possibilities of new love and reflects on her German heritage.
Awaara – 30th July
After feuding with his dad, a judge, Raj Raghunath leaves home and falls in with criminal Jagga. Once he realizes that his new friend is a key figure from his family’s past, Raj kills Jagga. As the crime happened in the elder Raghunath’s jurisdiction, Raj’s case is set to be heard by his father. Raj Kapoor’s watershed film belongs to the Golden Age of Hindi cinema.
Showgirls – 31st July
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?
Other new releases on MUBI
Something in the Air
In the early 1970s, Gilles is a high school student in Paris, swept up in the political fever of the time. Yet his real dream is to paint and make films, something that his friends and even his girlfriend cannot understand. Olivier Assayas revisits his own autobiography for this look at adolescence in the aftermath of May 68 and coming-of-age in the face of failed revolution.
The Portuguese Woman
The newly married wife of Lord von Ketten is determined to make her husband’s family abode, an inhospitable castle in Italy, into a home. When he sets off to battle, staying away for eleven long years, she carves out a life for herself—reading, singing, dancing, swimming, and riding in the forest.
In an occupied land belonging to a sugarcane processing plant, the Landless Workers Movement fights to press the government into making land reform and settling the families encamped. While conservative forces gain more space than ever in the country, encamped people dream of self-determination.
A schoolgirl travels with six of her classmates to her ailing aunt’s creaky, remote country home, where supernatural events occur almost immediately. They come face to face with evil spirits, bloodthirsty pianos, and a demonic housecat.
The Good Girls
Sofia, the spoiled queen bee of her group of friends, faces the unimaginable: her social decay. The year is 1982 and an economic crisis is hitting Mexico. Cracks appear in Sofia and her husband’s manicured lives, as the social and economic order shifts around them.
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.
Fellini: Juliet of the Spirits
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.
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
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. Read our full review
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 Salt of the Earth
After Pina, the multi-faceted Wim Wenders (Paris, Texas, Buena Vista Social Club) crafted this powerful documentary portrait of celebrated Brazilian photojournalist Sebastião Salgado – whose instantly recognisable black-and-white photographs have documented scenes of suffering and beauty around the globe.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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Last chance to stream: Titles leaving MUBI soon
A Russian Youth
Available until: 27th July
Available until: 28th July
Available until: 29th July
Cassandro, the Exotico!
Available until: 29th July