MUBI Weekly Digest | 27th June 2020
James R | On 27, Jun 2020
MUBI gives a free 24-hour showcase to Werner Herzog’s latest film this coming Friday, and it’s marking the release with a double-bill of the director’s earlier works. That’s nicely balanced with a classic from another filmmaking giant – Fellini’s 8½ – and a spotlight shone on another of Brazil’s new wave helmers.
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
Nymphomaniac: Volume I and II – 27th June
A self-diagnosed nymphomaniac recounts her experiences to the man who saved her in Lars von Trier’s graphic, controversial drama.
Fellini: 8½ – 28th June
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.
Let It Burn – 30th June
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.
Herzog: Wheel of Time – 1st July
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.
The Invincibles (Director’s Cut) – 2nd July
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.
Free: Family Romance, LLC – 3rd July
Werner Herzog’s latest gets a free preview for 24 hours, before it’s available to rent online.
Other new releases on MUBI
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
A filmmaker takes a comic look at the ebbs and flows of his life as he becomes a father for the first time and struggles to make a film. His original production is derailed and becomes a documentary on the upcoming elections and the unfathomable possibility of Italy voting in a left-wing government.
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.
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.
Just Don’t Think I’ll Scream
After years of solitude in the country, Beauvais decides to move back to Paris, recording his last summer in the Alsace by way of snippets of the films he was watching at the time. This rapid-fire diary collage links his private life with world events.
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 Seasons in Quincy: Four Portraits of John Berger
A portrait of the artist, philosopher, and writer John Berger, this documentary is the result of a project undertaken by some of Berger’s friends and collaborators, including Tilda Swinton. The four film essays, pitched as seasonal chapters, explore his life and work in the Alpine village of Quincy. Read our full review
Within Our Gates
Sylvia Landry, a teacher at a school for impoverished black children in the Deep South, takes a fundraising trip to Boston upon learning that the institution is nearly bankrupt. There she meets Dr. Vivian, who travels back south with Sylvia after falling in love with her.
The Day After I’m Gone
Yoram Golan sees less and less of his teenage daughter. After she attempts suicide, they leave the city and head south. This 2019 drama marks a handpicked debut by MUBI from Israeli screenwriter turned director Nimrod Eldar.
Ben Whishaw gives his most subtle performance to date as a young man struggling to come to terms with the death of Kai, his boyfriend. He ends up befriending Kai’s Chinese-speaking mother, Junn, who lives a mundane existence in a nearby nursing home, in Hong Khaou’s magnificent, restrained debut. Read our review
Montparnasse Bienvenue (Jeune Femme)
After a break up with her boyfriend of 10 years, Paula finds herself wandering the streets of Paris with no idea of what life holds for her next. At 31, with little to show for it but a kidnapped cat and a sense of adventure, she sets out to reinvent herself, and finds that this doesn’t come easy. Léonor Sérraile’s debut premiered at Cannes in 2017, winning the Caméra d’Or. Read our review
A young woman’s (Rooney Mara) confrontation with a man (Ben Mendelsohn) from her past threatens to derail his new life and her stability. Read our review
Popeye the Sailor Meets Sinbad the Sailor
Sindbad the Sailor proclaims himself to be the greatest sailor in the world, a claim which is challenged by Popeye’s arrival to his island with Olive Oyl and J. Wellington Wimpy in tow. Sindbad, with the help of his bird Rokh, treats Popeye to a series of challenges to prove his greatness.
Paris, 1992: house music is developing at a fast pace. In the exciting nightlife, Paul is taking his first steps as a DJ of the “French touch”. With his friend Stan, he forms the DJ duo Cheers, playing electronic dance music. Later, Paul becomes depressed, and the cocaine he takes doesn’t help.
Mumbai, 1992. Naseem, a 15 year-old schoolgirl, lives with her grandfather and grows up with the stories of pre-independence communal harmony. Later, she helplessly watches the communal situation regressing with the demolition of Babri Masjid, a mosque in Ayodhya.
Surrounded by her mother and two older sisters, Paola attempts to find her place in this world. In a tour de force bursting with the tragicomedy of everyday drama, Paola develops into a self-confident young woman in spite of all the challenges facing her.
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.
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 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
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.
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