The MUBI Weekly Digest | 11th January 2020
Staff Reporter | On 11, Jan 2020Reading time: 10 mins
MUBI kicks off its annual awards season this week with John M. Stahl’s Imitation of Life and Capturing the Friedmans, served with a side order of Richard Linklater and Bergman, but the real prize is the start of a retrospective looking back at Japanese director Yūzō Kawashima. All that plus a chance to revisit a Terrence Malick flick and there’s no reason to leave your sofa.
Except, of course, for Uncut Gems, which you can use MUBI Go (which offers a free cinema ticket every week to its subscribers) to see at participating cinemas. (To see where Uncut Gems is screening in UK cinemas, click here – although not all of them will be eligible for MUBI GO.)
What’s new, coming soon and leaving soon on the subscription service? This is your weekly MUBI Digest:
This week on MUBI
The Beguiled – 11th January
During the Civil War, a wounded Union soldier is cared for and lusted after in an all-female southern boarding school. His presence at first scares the girl, but quickly starts off a series of diverse sexual frustrations and jealousies. But his shrewd handling of the women leads to brutal vengeance.
Dazed and Confused – 12th January
Among the best teen films ever made, Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused eavesdrops on a group of seniors-to-be and incoming freshmen. A launching pad for a number of future stars, Linklater’s first studio effort also features endlessly quotable dialogue and a rocking rock and roll soundtrack.
Awards: Imitation of Life – 13th January
A young, struggling widow and single mother takes in a black housekeeper and her light-skinned daughter. The two women start a pancake store which becomes a successful business, however they face familial, identity, and racial issues along the way.
Kawashima: Suzaki Paradise: Red Light – 14th January
A jobless young couple, Yoshigi and Tsutue, wind up at the outskirts of the Suzaki red-light district in Tokyo. Tsutue talks her way into a job pouring sake for male customers at a small bar, while Yoshigi is shunted off into a nearby noodle shop.
Bergman: Smiles of a Summer Night – 15th January
In turn-of-the-century Sweden, four men and four women attempt to navigate the laws of attraction. During a weekend in the country, the women collude to force the men’s hands in matters of the heart, exposing male pretensions and insecurities along the way.
Awards: Capturing the Friedmans – 16th January
The Friedmans are a seemingly typical, upper-middle-class Jewish family—but their world is instantly transformed when the father and his youngest son are arrested and charged with shocking and horrible crimes.
To The Wonder – 17th January
Neil is a man torn between two loves: Marina, the European woman who comes to the United States to be with him, and Jane, the old flame he reconnects with from his hometown. Neil’s doubts about his life and loves are reflected in the crisis of faith experienced by Father Quintana.
Other new releases on MUBI
First Films First: River of Grass – 4th January
Indie film legend Kelly Reichardt kicked off her career with this 1994 drama, which follows Cozy, a thirtyish Florida housewife bored to tears with her drudging life. She runs away with Lee, a young loser in search of thrills. But after accidentally shooting a man, Cozy and Lee try to go on the lam as every outlaw couple before them—without quite ever getting it right.
First Films First: The Pleasure of Being Robbed – 5th January
Before Uncut Gems arrives, go back to Josh Safdie’s directorial debut, which began as a short film. A curious and lost Eleonore looks for something everywhere, even in the bags of strangers who find themselves sadly smiling only well after she’s left their lives. They owe her their thanks.
First Films First: The Last Battle – 6th January
Luc Besson’s debut is set in a post-apocalyptic future where only a few humans are left, and an unknown trauma has robbed mankind of their ability to speak. “The Man” is an isolated survivor wandering the hostile streets of a collapsed civilisation. He meets his nemesis, The Brute, a violent thug determined to destroy him.
First Films First: Unrelated – 7th January
Catch a young Tom Hiddleston in Joanna Hogg’s debut film from 2007, which sees a forty-something woman on a Tuscan break fall in with a group of partying teens.
The Cow – 8th January
In a small village in Iran, Hassan cherishes his cow more than anything in the world. While he is away, the cow mysteriously dies, and the villagers protectively try to convince Hassan the cow has wandered off. Grief stricken, Hassan begins to believe he is his own beloved bovine.
Godard: Alphaville – 9th January
A surreal missing person case sends an American private investigator by the name of Lemmy Caution on an interplanetary journey to the futuristic city of Alphaville, where he becomes at odds with the sinister ruler of the town.
Godard: Pierrot le Fou – 10th January
Pierrot escapes his bourgeoisie existence by taking to the road with the babysitter, his ex-lover Marianne. Being pursued by foreign thugs, they embark on a haphazard crime spree through the French countryside all the way to the Mediterranean.
In San Francisco, an ex-police officer who suffers from an intense fear of heights rescues a mysterious blonde from the bay and must unravel the secrets of the past to find the key to his future. The pair become trapped in a dizzying web of mistaken identity, passion and murder.
The Incredible Shrinking Man
A dangerous combination of radiation and insecticide causes the unfortunate Scott Carey to shrink, slowly but surely, until he is only a few inches tall. His home becomes a wilderness where he must survive everything from spiders living in the cellar to his beloved cat.
Another planet is on a collision course with Earth. While some would panic or take their clothes off, Lars von Trier uses the scenario as the backdrop for an exploration of the disintegrating relationship between two sisters. Kirsten Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg are fantastic.
The Big Lebowski
When Jeff ‘The Dude’ Lebowski is mistaken for Jeffrey Lebowski, two nihilists come to his house to threaten him. In search of recompense, The Dude tracks down Jeffrey, who offers him a job: he needs a bagman to get his kidnapped wife back. But The Dude’s friends Walter and Donny get involved…
In the French harbor city of Le Havre, fate throws young African refugee Idrissa into the path of Marcel Marx, a well-spoken bohemian who works as a shoe-shiner. With innate optimism and the unwavering support of his community, Marcel stands up to officials doggedly pursuing the boy for deportation.
From dawn to dusk, a few hours in the life of Monsieur Oscar, a shadowy character who journeys from one life to the next. He is, in turn, captain of industry, assassin, beggar, monster, family man. He seems to be playing roles, plunging headlong into each part—but where are the cameras?
First Films First: Corpo Celeste
Thirteen year-old Marta, her mother, and sister move from Switzerland to a small Calabrian town in Alice Rohrwacher’s directorial debut. Marta is sent to the local church to prepare for her Catholic confirmation and hopefully make new friends. But the religion she finds there, and how it dominates people’s lives, is strange.
First Films First: The White Sheik
Ivan Cavalli brings his new wife Wanda to Rome in Federico Fellini’s directorial debut. What ensues is the least romantic honeymoon in history – a rigid schedule of family meetings and audiences with the Pope. But Wanda, dreaming of the dashing hero of a photo-strip cartoon, drifts off in search of the White Sheik.
First Films First: The Sugarland Express
Down-home gal Lou Jean busts her incarcerated husband Clovis out of prison with a plan to retrieve their young son from foster care in Steven Spielberg’s directorial debut. The plan involves the kidnapping of a police officer. With a fleet of cars full of cops armed to the teeth, and reporters on their heels, they set out across Texas…
Bergman: A Lesson in Love
MUBI’s Bergman retrospective takes a turn with this mature comedy. After 15 years of marriage, David and Marianne have grown apart. Gynaecologist David has had an affair with a patient of his and Marianne has got herself involved with her former lover Carl-Adam. David will attempt to win his way back into his wife’s affections during a journey to Copenhagen.
Lonely Are the Brave
Kirk Douglas is justly commended for using his fame to support unusual film productions, and this late period western is one of his boldest ventures. Blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo adapts the environmentalist novelist Edward Abbey to redefine the idea of the outsider cowboy for a new age, as a fiercely independent cowboy who obstinately resists modernization arranges to have himself locked up in jail in order to escape with an old friend who has been sentenced to the penitentiary. When the principled friend refuses to leave, the cowboy futilely attempts to escape to Mexico on horseback.
Abbas Kiarostami: Taste of Cherry
Middle-aged Mr. Badii wishes to die in a society where suicide is considered an abomination. Driving in the hills above Tehran, he searches for an accomplice who is willing to bury him after he is dead. He meets an assortment of different characters, but each have reasons to turn down the job.
Abbas Kiarostami: The Wind Will Carry Us
rreverent city engineer Behzad comes to a rural Kurdish village in Iran to keep vigil for a dying relative. While death hovers around the corner, Behzad gains perspectives on life and spirituality as he befriends the locals and experiences nature’s majesty, changing his own attitudes as a result.
Brief Encounters: GUO4
A confrontation between two swimmers in a locker room. The framing of traditionally macho scenarios in a homoerotic context takes its cues from the covert porn of Bob Mizer.
Three Colours: Blue
MUBI begins a look back at Krzysztof Kieślowski’s iconic trilogy with Blue. The wife of a famous composer survives a car accident that kills her husband and daughter. Now alone, she shakes off her old identity and explores her newfound freedom, but finds that she is unbreakably bound to other humans, including her husband’s mistress, whose existence she never suspected.
Three Colours: White
Karol Karol, a Polish immigrant living in France, is a hairdresser who opts to leave Paris for his native Warsaw when his wife sues him for divorce (her reason: their marriage was never consummated) and then frames him for arson. Karol Karol, in return, plans an elaborate revenge plot.
Three Colours: Red
Kieślowski closes his trilogy in grand fashion with this mind-boggling, unconventional romance: a story of fate and chance in an interconnected society.
The versatile director of such disparate films as George Washington and Pinapple Express (and Silver Bear winner at Berlinale for Prince Avalanche!), David Gordon Green scored with this unsettling look at life in the American South, starring Jamie Bell.
Godard: Le Petit Soldat
During the Algerian war for independence from France, a young Frenchman living in Geneva joins a far-right terrorist group from which he later tries to flee, after falling in love for a young woman who belongs to a left-wing terrorist group.
A screenwriter adapting Homer’s Odyssey for cinema is torn between the demands of a proud European director to whom he wishes to be loyal to; a crude, arrogant American producer; his disillusioned wife Camille; and his own self-respect.
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Last chance to stream: Titles leaving MUBI soon
A Woman Is a Woman
Available until end of: 11th January
Available until end of: 12th January
Three Colors: White
Available until end of: 13th January
Available until end of: 14th January
Available until end of: 15th January
The Wandering Soap Opera
Available until end of: 16th January
Elena and Her Men
Available until end of: 17th January
Available until end of: 18th January
Available until end of: 19th January