MUBI Weekly Digest | 7th November 2020
James R | On 07, Nov 2020
MUBI is getting in the Scandinavian spirit this weekend, with the release of a Danish gem that won Sundance’s 2019 Audience Award winner, which joins an ongoing retrospective of Swedish auteur Roy Andersson. But there’s all of Europe to enjoy, from a Lithuanian drama to a classic Rohmer comedy.
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
Queen of Hearts – 7th November
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 – 8th November
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.
Nova Lituania – 9th November
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 – 11th November
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 – 12th November
Roy Andersson’s eccentric oddity is a bleakly comic parade of existence.
The Green Ray – 13th November
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.
Other new releases on MUBI
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.
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?
The Voice of the Moon
Ivo Salvini has recently been released from a mental hospital and is in love with Aldini. As he attempts to win her heart, he wanders a strange, dreamlike landscape in his Emilian village and encounters various oddball characters, including Gonnella, a paranoid old man prone to conspiracy theories.
Pauline at the Beach
Marion is about to divorce from her husband and takes her 15-year-old niece Pauline on a vacation to Normandy. There, the two navigate the men around them. Marion runs into her old flame Pierre and attempts to set him up with Pauline, while she starts a liaison with middle-aged Henri.
Now, at Last!
A sloth crawls up a branch at its own leisure and takes a nap, hanging on its head and with its long claws firmly planted in the rough bark. Time is suspended as each breath, every movement becomes a theatrical drama unfolding before our eyes.
Full Moon in Paris
Fed up with the suburbs and her sweet, steady boyfriend, young interior decorator Louise independently decides to take a pied-à-terre apartment in Paris where she can sample the single life, which includes dealing with the come-ons of her indefatigable friend, Octave. French New Wave director Éric Rohmer combines the energy of 1980s Paris with a fizzing tale of a young woman’s liberation.
Profit Motive and The Whispering Wind
A tour of the United States’ progressive history, loosely inspired by Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States, visiting the resting places of such famed figures as Malcolm X, Susan B. Anthony and Crazy Horse, alongside sites of pivotal struggles, such as the 1770 Boston Massacre.
Entire Days Together
A young girl is cured of her epilepsy just as summer vacation is about to begin. She spends her last days with her classmates, and goes on a last school trip: a picnic, a game of hide-and-seek, and a river. During this period, she’ll come to experience life in a new way.
You the Living
Made up of 50 criss-crossing vignettes and populated with dozens of characters, Roy Andersson’s 2007 compendium is a unique journey through our permanently askew universe, in all its humor and heartbreak.
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.
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.
This funny, shocking coming-of-age paranormal musical is entrancing cinema.
Finding Vivian Maier
Part detective story and part portrait of an artist, this documentary about the now-celebrated photographer is a fascinating watch.
Beautiful New Bay Area Project
While inspecting a wharf, young Amano, president of an urban planning company, meets beautiful laborer Takako and falls in love at first sight. However, she does not return his affections, so he steals her ID card and goes on the run from the infuriated Takako. Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s martial arts flick has a sense of realism that is as unusual as it is bracing.
Ghost Strata refers to the missing elements from within the rock strata that offer hints of what was once there. Charting personal movements of the filmmaker in various places, the film explores the differing scales of impact that humanity’s presence has on the earth in the past, present and future.
Wuthering Heights (2011)
Rarely has a period tale felt so modern.
A Good Marriage
From New Wave master Eric Rohmer comes A Good Marriage, the second film in his “Comedies and Proverbs” series. Taking as its inspiration La Fontaine’s proverb “Who has not built castles in Spain?”, this heartwarming dramedy watches a romantically dissatisfied young woman try to plot out love.
By watching sex workers listen to their own experiences while staring at us, Blue Boy creates a provocative triangle of power relations between camera, subject, and spectator. Manuel Abramovich plunges us into the complexities of sex trade with an inventive, superbly effective storytelling device.
Do you ever feel like there’s somebody out there, on the other side of the world, who feels how you feel? Kaden is a world-class ski jumper in Canada, pining for a lost love. Khai is a corporate executive in Shanghai, drawn to a new coworker with a secret. The two men go about their lives, without knowing that they are connected.
Journey to the Shore
Though best known for J-horror, Kiyoshi Kurosawa confirms his remarkable versatility with this genre-bending road movie that paints an otherworldly portrait of love and death. Melding romance with the supernatural, Journey to the Shore is full of moments of surprising tenderness and melancholy.
The Deer Hunter
A classic of New Hollywood cinema, Michael Cimino’s powerful anti-war epic summons a trio of intense, terrific performances from its stars Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken, and Meryl Streep. Cimino’s breakthrough, and winner of five Academy Awards including Best Picture.
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
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
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.
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…
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.
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?
A monthly subscription to MUBI costs £9.99 a month, with a 30-day free trial.
Last chance to stream: Titles leaving MUBI soon
No titles leaving in the next week.