MUBI Weekly Digest | 4th October 2020
James R | On 03, Oct 2020
MUBI Go is back in full swing, offering a free cinema ticket this week to see Netflix’s The Trial of the Chicago 7 participating UK cinemas. (For a guide to where The Trial of the Chicago 7 is showing on the big screen, click here.)
At home, the streaming service continues two of its strongest retrospectives, with features from Isabelle Huppert and Aki Kaurismäki. 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
Huppert: Amateur – 3rd October
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.
South Terminal – 5th October
The latest film by Algerian-French auteur Rabah Ameur-Zaïmeche is an engrossing drama tinged with a thriller’s suspense. Echoing Casablanca’s hero fighting to keep wartime neutrality and Transit’s clever use of an unnamed locale, Ameur-Zaïmeche tells a timeless story of paramount urgency.
The Aviator’s Wife – 6th October
Based on the proverb that it’s impossible to think of nothing, this detective story reveals what happens when doubts mix with romance, and the magic that is created by the imagination.
Kaurismäki: The Other Side of Hope – 9th October
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.
Other new releases on MUBI
The New Girlfriend
Romain Duris is superb in Francois Ozon’s witty, stylish exploration of gender and identity.
Filmed in one day, June 26, 1977, in multiple locations across the USA, this film documents the gay pride parades of the time and also offers an overview of the issues facing the gay community, as a myriad of different camera operators and interviewers took to the streets.
End of Summer (2014)
End of Summer captures a journey to the southernmost corner of the world to discover the calm scenery of a landscape changing seasons, barely influenced or even noticed by humanity. Filmed through a waning Antarctic summer, the film is a series of mainly static tableaux made over a 20-day period.
A wave of gruesome murders is sweeping Tokyo. The only connection is a bloody X carved into the neck of each of the victims. In each case, the murderer is found near the victim and remembers nothing of the crime. MUBI begins a season looking at the work of Kiyoshi Kurosawa with this 1997 horror thriller.
Exclusive: The Ground Beneath My Feet
Lola is a high achiever at a demanding job, despite the secrets she keeps from her colleagues—an affair with her boss Elise, and the needs of her paranoid schizophrenic sister, for whom Lola acts as guardian. When her sister’s instability intensifies, Lola finds her grasp on reality weakening.
Berlin, 1939: SS officer Wallenberg is ordered to find Germany’s most beautiful women to work in the opulent brothel of Madam Kitty, while Wallenberg secretly records their acts for blackmail. When a young prostitute uncovers the conspiracy, her revenge ignites a plot of pain and perversion.
A young boy, Aslan, finds a weathered fighting dog, Sivas, wounded in a ditch. Upset over losing the main role in a school play, Aslan turns to dog fighting to impress his crush. As Sivas proves successful at the fighting ground, Aslan soaks up the adrenaline yet remains uneasy with the violence in this 2014 Turkish drama.
After a long period of isolation, Antonin, a young man with persistent fatigue, rediscovers the world in a care center for wild birds. In this strange setting, lulled by the din of the planes, one saves both wounded birds and souls in pain.
Naomi Kawase: Sweet Bean
From Naomi Kawase comes this feel-good tale of friendship between people running a bakery that implores us to remember the simple pleasures in life.
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.
Taking inspiration from The Three Women, a 1951 photo by Lucien Hervé, Marcell Ivanyi’s short asks what might lie outside the frame. This 360 degrees exploration of a scene imagined occurs in the remote countryside, where three women witness an unsettling event.
Ingrid Bergman: In Her Own Words
Whether headlining films in Sweden, Italy, or Hollywood, Ingrid Bergman always pierced the screen with a singular soulfulness. This documentary allows us access to her world, culling from the most personal of archival materials, including letters, home movies, but also interviews with her children.
The Lighthouse (2006)
Set on the fringes of an unspecified war, Lena returns home from Moscow to her mountain village in the Caucasus to try to persuade her grandparents to leave.
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.
The golden age of the Soviet space programme is full of cosmic brutality, also towards man’s best friend. The most famous of them all is the street dog Laika, who according to local legends is still roaming the streets of Moscow like a ghost to forever remind us of the horrors of animal testing…
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.
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.
Naomi Kawase: Still the Water
On the Japanese island of Amami, despite lacking parental guidance, 16-year-old Kaito and his girlfriend Kyoko try to find their place in the world. While Kaito suffers from the absence of his father, who moved to Tokyo after his birth, Kyoko must come to grips with her mother’s terminal illness.
Naomi Kawase: The Mourning Forest
MUBI’s triple bill of films by Naomi Kawase kicks off with this gentle yet wholly absorbing look at the passage through grief and the bonds that unite us.
Marguerite Duras: Baxter, Vera Baxter
Opening MUBI’s focus on Marguerite Duras’ hypnotic cinema is her radical, enclosed melodrama with Delphine Seyrig and Gérard Depardieu.
Marguerite Duras: India Song
The wife of a disgraced French diplomat suffers from a “leprosy of the soul,” another term for ennui. Through a mélange of off-screen gossip, we learn of Anne-Marie’s scandalous conduct in 1930s India and her eventual fate, engendered by boredom, colonial guilt, and a string of meaningless affairs. Currently available to rent
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.
This cinematographic portrait originates in 3,000 drawings made by the Waimiri-Atroari, a people native to the Brazilian Amazon. The drawings are animated onto landscapes and sights, serving as a visual memory of the violent attacks they were submitted to during Brazil’s military dictatorship.
So Long, My Son
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
Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry
In this unprecedented look at Ai Weiwei, Klayman’s camera captures his forthrightness and unequivocal stance. She gives a larger picture of the artist as an individual, a symbol of China’s oppression, and a powerful voice against a country that still denies its citizens many basic freedoms.
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.
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?
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
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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Available until: 8th October