MUBI Weekly Digest | 5th December 2020
Staff Reporter | On 05, Dec 2020
MUBI shines a spotlight on the inimitable Hong Sangsoo this week, with a double-bill of two of the director’s best. There’s also a rare chance the latest short film from Peter Strickland, and – as Mank is released in the UK – the opportunity to revisit Orson Welles’ adaptation of Kafka’s The Trial.
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
The Trial – 5th December
The eternal enfant terrible Orson Welles is a magician who can make something from nothing, and his Kafka adaptation starring Anthony Perkins is the director at his most wildly inventive.
The Wind That Shakes the Barley – 6th December
Ireland, 1920: people unite to form volunteer guerrilla armies to face the ruthless “Black and Tan” squads that are being shipped from Britain to block Ireland’s bid for independence. Damien abandons his burgeoning career as a doctor and joins his brother, Teddy, in a violent fight for freedom.
A Family Tour – 7th December
After directing the film The Mother of One Recluse, director Yang Shu has been forced to live in exile in Hong Kong. But when her mother has to undergo a serious operation, the two women plan to meet in Taiwan where Yang will be attending a film festival with her husband and son.
Barbs, Wastelands – 8th December
After the Carnation Revolution, the peasants in the Alentejo region occupied the huge properties where they were once submitted to the power of their masters. Resistants of this struggle tell their story to the youngsters of today, in their own words.
Hong Sangsoo: Tale of Cinema – 9th December
In Seoul, a suicidal student meets a young woman who decides to join him in his fatal gesture. Tongsu, an unsuccessful filmmaker, spots a beautiful young woman, who happens to be the lead actress in the film he has just seen. Their stories will cross paths thanks to their love for cinema.
Hong Sangsoo: Nobody’s Daughter Haewon – 10th December
Is she tired of life or love? Why else is Haewon falling asleep in a restaurant? Haewon, a film student and aspiring actress, feels abandoned. Her mother is about to emigrate to Canada and Haewon has decided to end her affair with one of her professors, a much older married man.
Cold Meridian – 11th December
A beguiling new short film from Peter Strickland, shot on black and white Super8 and 16mm film. Originally commissioned by the London Short Film Festival to wriggle inside the ASMR phenomenon, it follows the repeated rituals of an online performer and the transfixing, hypnotising effects she has on her viewers.
Other new releases on MUBI
Jodorowsky: The Dance of Reality
Alejandro Jodorowsky was born in 1929 in a coastal town in Chile. In The Dance of Reality, Jodorowsky reconstitutes the adventure of his early life in that town, where he discovered the fundamentals of reality as he underwent an unhappy and alienated childhood as part of an uprooted family.
Jodorowsky: Endless Poetry
A cornucopia of ambitiously grotesque and sublime imagery invades Jodorowsky’s second autobiographical film, which covers the period in which the young man leaves home in search of bohemian self-expression.
The Watermelon Woman (1996)
Cheryl, an aspiring black lesbian filmmaker working in a video store, is making a documentary about a black actress from the 1930s who was typecast, credited only as “the watermelon woman.” While uncovering the meaning of her life, Cheryl simultaneously experiences an upheaval in her own.
An isolated monastery in the Italian hills. A kung fu master. A community of Christian monks. A single faith: to fight evil in the name of the Father. For 20 years, the Warrior Monks have been preparing for a “higher” war, amid night-time prayers and grueling training sessions.
Cathryn is a pregnant children’s author, whose husband may or may not be having an affair. While holidaying in Ireland, her mental state becomes increasingly unstable resulting in paranoia, hallucinations and visions of a doppelgänger.
Tripping with Nils Frahm
The world premiere of renowned musician Nils Frahm’s immersive concert film. No stranger to cinema as an award-winning composer (Victoria, Manifesto), Frahm’s intimate show is captured on handheld cameras.
Just before the French Revolution, a group of libertines expelled from the court of Louis XVI flees for Germany, where they rendezvous with the legendary seducer and freethinker the Duc de Walchen. Their goal? Export libertinage, a philosophy centered on the rejection of morality and authority.
In Jerzy Skolimowski’s metaphysical drama, which follows the solo escape of a terrorist fighter, controversial artist Vincent Gallo delivers an award-winning, wordless performance.
Matt Dillon stars in Yorgos Lanthimos’ new short film, which follows an encounter between a professional cellist and family man with a stranger on the subway that has unexpected and far-reaching consequences on his life.
My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend
Blanche and Lea meet and become friends in Éric Rohmer’s 1987 romantic comedy. Lea is thinking of leaving her boyfriend Fabien, and Blanche falls for Lea’s dashing, witty friend Alexandre, but is tongue-tied with him. Lea goes on holiday, and Blanche, still smitten with Alexandre, begins to get to know Fabien.
In the Philippines, women get deployed abroad to work as domestic workers or nannies. In one of the many training centers dedicated to domestic work, a group of trainees are getting ready to face both homesickness and the possible abuses lying ahead during a series of role-playing exercises.
A Short Film About Love
19-year-old postal worker Tomek routinely spies on his older neighbour Magda, a sexually liberated artist who lives in the apartment across the courtyard from his. As their private worlds merge, fascination turns to obsession, and the line between love and curiosity becomes blurred. One of the two films developed by Krzysztof Kieślowski from his Dekalog TV series.
A Short Film About Killing
Jacek, an angry drifter, murders a taxi driver brutally and without motive. His case is assigned to Piotr, an idealistic young lawyer who is morally opposed to the death penalty, and their interactions take on an emotional honesty that throws into stark relief, for Piotr, the injustice of killing. One of the two films developed by Krzysztof Kieślowski from his Dekalog TV series.
Young director Moe is facing a crisis–his filmmaking dreams cannot be accomplished and his friends are being arrested. A car ride through Cairo introduces Moe to a different side of the city: together with a witty prostitute and a choleric taxi driver, he manages to break free of his bubble.
Dardennes: The Kid with a Bike
Breaking from tradition, two-time Palme d’Or winners Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne cast a star, Belgian actress Cécile de France, for this optimistic social-realist drama.
Dardennes: Two Days, One Night
Marion Cotillard delivers a powerful performance in this drama about Sandra, who returns to work after a bout of depression to find that her co-workers have voted her out of a job in favour of a bonus. Her boss gives her a weekend to convince them all to change their minds, prompting a series of confrontations that test both her ingenuity and her colleagues’ scruples.
Dardennes: The Unknown Girl
Jenny, a talented doctor, refuses to open the door of her practice to a mysterious late-night caller. The next morning, she learns it was a girl who has been found dead, and the police have no way of identifying her. Guilt-stricken by the news, Jenny resolves to discover the name of the girl.
After a devastating earthquake, Nga, an old elephant and probably the last of its species, and Sanra, his mahout, are about to embark on a journey to find the mythical elephant’s graveyard. The group of poachers following them will die one after the other under mysterious circumstances and spells.
Eames: The Architect and the Painter
The legendary and prolific Eames couple revolutionised the realms of design, architecture, and the arts with their wildly inventive pieces and jovial attitude towards life and work. Narrated by James Franco, this documentary gives insight into the spellbinding world of this wholly inspiring duo.
Queen of Hearts
Successful lawyer Anne lives happily with her two daughters and her husband Peter. Yet when Gustav, Peter’s troubled teenage son from another relationship, comes to live with them, Anne forms an intimate bond with Gustav that jeopardises her perfect life, one that will have devastating consequences. Winner of the Audience Award at Sundance in 2019, this provocative domestic drama echoes the self-reflexive nature of a Douglas Sirk melodrama and the slow-burn tension of a Hitchcockian thriller.
The Kindergarten Teacher ber
Lisa Spinelli, married and living with kids that mostly ignore her, plods through her days teaching kindergarten with growing numbness. But one day everything changes—Lisa discovers that a five-year-old boy in her class may be the poet she can only dream of being. She becomes fascinated.
1938. While Lithuania celebrates its Independence Day, war looms on the horizon. A young geographer pitches to the Prime Minister the idea of creating a backup state overseas, where the country’s inhabitants could move in case of danger. An odd yet heartfelt friendship arises between the two men.
To the Ends of the Earth
Yoko, a cautious and introverted host of a popular TV travel show, is on assignment in Uzbekistan. When everything goes wrong, she decides to set aside her host duties and take a stroll. Lost in the streets of a foreign city, she finds herself adrift and alone, confronting her fears and aspirations.
A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence
Roy Andersson’s eccentric oddity is a bleakly comic parade of existence.
The Green Ray
Delphine’s traveling companion cancels two weeks before her holiday, so Delphine, a Parisian secretary, is at loose ends. She doesn’t want to travel by herself, but has no boyfriend and seems unable to meet new people. Thus begins a summer looking inside herself, and outside—for love.
Almodóvar: I’m So Excited
Returning to the light, goofy, and salacious tone that characterizes his early career, Almodóvar changed gears and indulged in camp exuberance for this farcical in-flight comedy, a satirical metaphor for Spain’s state of crisis featuring some of Pedro’s regulars. Time to buckle up your seat belts!
Almodóvar: All About My Mother
Following the tragic death of her teenage son, Manuela travels from Madrid to Barcelona in an attempt to contact the long-estranged father the boy never knew. She reunites with an old friend, an outspoken transgender sex worker, and befriends a troubled actress and a pregnant, HIV-positive nun.
Almodóvar: Broken Embraces
Pedro and Penélope Cruz reunite as the man and his muse bring us a slow-burning, sensual tale of a director and an actress who fall in love. The news of powerful businessman Ernesto Martel’s death forces Harry Caine, a blind man who was once a film writer and director, to confront his tragic past. Magdalena was the star of Harry’s last film. Although she was Martel’s younger girlfriend at the time, the two fell ferociously in love.
In working-class Madrid, Raimunda needs to deal with her husband’s death, while struggling to support her family. But surrounded by three generations of women—her sister Sole, her daughter Paula, and friend Agustina—and haunted by her dead mother, Raimunda will do more than survive.
Almodóvar: Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!
Hot off the major success of Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Almodóvar switched gears to take his melodramatic style into more dangerous territory – accompanied by by a score from the late, great Ennio Morricone.
Almodóvar: Live Flesh
Víctor falls hard for Elena, but she doesn’t reciprocate his feelings. She does, however, have feelings for David, a policeman who arrives to break up an argument between her and Víctor. That encounter however takes an unexpected turn that leads these characters down a dark, twisty path in Almodóvar’s 1997 drama.
Almodóvar: Bad Education
Two boys, Ignacio and Enrique, know love, fear, and abuse in a Catholic boarding school in the 1960s. Father Manolo, the headmaster, is witness to and part of these discoveries. The three meet again many years later, and their past actions and new lives intertwine in creative and destructive ways.
Almodóvar: Talk to Her
Benigno is infatuated with Alicia, a dancer he watches from the anonymity of his apartment. After an accident, she is brought to the hospital where Benigno happens to be her caregiver. When wounded bullfighter Lydia is brought into the same ward, her companion, Marco, bonds with Benigno in the most unexpected, moving, disturbing ways.
Almodóvar: The Skin I Live In
The Skin I Live In is a sultry, unsettling masterpiece that sees Almodóvar at his most audacious.
This funny, shocking coming-of-age paranormal musical is entrancing cinema.
The Other Lamb
The members of the Flock, all women and female children, live in a rural compound, being led by a man, Shepherd. Selah, a daughter, is given the great honor of participating in the sacred ritual of the birthing of the lambs where she has a shocking and otherworldly experience.
What We Do in the Shadows
Taiki Waititi’s vampire comedy is moving, clever and mercilessly quick, but most of all, it’s bleeding funny.
The Hills Have Eyes
In Wes Craven’s cult horror hit, a family on vacation are attacked by mutant killers in the desert. After the success of Last House on the Left, Craven served up another terrifying tale of family survival with a still-relevant Vietnam-era moral question at its core: which family deserves to live? The normal American family? Or the inbred cannibals damaged by nuclear testing designed to keep “upstanding” families safe?
Huppert: Time of the Wolf
The time preceding the apocalypse is known in Germanic mythology as the time of the wolves. Fleeing a disaster, a middle-class family travel to their countryside holiday home, believing themselves to be escaping the consequences of the general state of chaos, but they find it occupied by strangers. After working with Michael Haneke on The Piano Teacher, Isabelle Huppert teamed up again with the director for this tale of post-apocalyptic survival.
Huppert: White Material
The collaboration between Isabelle Huppert and Claire Denis the world had been dreaming of, arrived with this powerful story about the death throes of white colonialism.
An ex-nun who writes adult short stories crosses paths with an amnesiac wandering the streets of New York City. When they set out to uncover his identity, they come face to face with his unsavory past, including a vengeful porno actress and ruthless corporate assassins hot on their trail.
Huppert: Valley of Love
An estranged couple meet for the first time in years in the Death Valley. They are here to answer to an invitation from their son Michael, which they received after his suicide, six months ago. Despite the absurdity of the situation, they decide to follow the initiatory program designed by Michael. Isabelle Huppert and Gerard Depardieu star in Guillaume Nicloux’s intense, intimate drama.
A family’s peaceful existence is threatened when a busy highway is opened right next to their isolated property in Ursula Meier’s 2008 drama. As the sounds and fumes of the modern world begin to fill their home, the family becomes disorientated, and each of its member finds themselves pushed to dangerous extremes.
Set in Vienna, film charts a female writer’s passage to self-destruction as she is torn between two lovers, one of whom is her husband. Isabelle Huppert stars in Werner Schroeter’s adaptation of Ingeborg Bachmann’s novel, co-written by Elfriede Jelinek (The Piano Teacher).
Huppert: 8 Women
Eight women at a country estate suspect each of foul play after the house’s owner, Marcel, is found murdered in Francois Ozon’s 2002 comedy. The telephone line has been cut, the car won’t start and a heavy snowfall keeps the women confined to the grounds – including Catherine Deneuve, Emmanuelle Beart and the inimitable Isabelle Huppert.
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To the Ends of the Earth
Available until end of: 10th December
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