The MUBI Weekly Digest | 17th August 2019
Staff Reporter | On 17, Aug 2019Reading time: 9 mins
MUBI begins its best retrospective of the year with a new strand devoted to the work of Pedro Almodovar, with a welcome focus on his earlier gems. That joins a diverse array of programming this month, which covers a summer of music, a select of highlights from Locarno Film Festival and a look back at the Berlinale Silver Bear winner Christopher Petzold.
Want to see something on the big screen? Use MUBI Go (which offers a free cinema ticket every week to its subscribers), to see Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood at participating theatres.
What’s new, coming soon and leaving soon on the subscription service? This is your weekly MUBI Digest:
This week on MUBI
Juliette Binoche: Elles – 17th August
Anne, a mother of two and an investigative journalist for Elle magazine, is writing an article about university student prostitution. Her meetings with two fiercely independent young women are profound and unsettling, moving her to question her most intimate convictions about money, family and sex.
Almodovar: Dark Habits – 18th August
Following her lover’s fatal overdose, Yolanda, a bolero singer and drug addict, seeks refuge in the Convent of Humble Redeemers, dedicated to the rescue of women with a past in drugs, prostitution, and murder. No redemption is in sight however as the convent turns out to house many vices and sins.
Music on MUBI:The Needle – 19th August
Enigmatic drifter Moro returns to his Asiatic hometown to attempt to get his ex-girlfriend off heroine. The couple escape to the Aral sea but find that the sea has all but disappeared. There Dina seems cured, but back in town everything starts anew, and the mafia are waiting for them.
Straub and Huillet: Class Relations – 20th August
A haunted fever dream of the United States, Amerika is told from the perspective of a young German immigrant who encounters a strange new world, with its violent lies and quixotic optimism, like a modern-day Parsifal.
Araby – 21st August
André, a teenager, lives near an old aluminium factory in Brazil. One day a factory worker, Cristiano, suffers an accident. Asked to go to his house to pick up his belongings, André stumbles on a notebook. As he reads from the journal entries, we are plunged into Cristiano’s life and adventures.
Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life – 22nd August
Serge Gainsbourg’s life, from the young Lucien Ginsburg in 1940s occupied Paris, to the poet, composer and world-famous singer. The film spans his whole artistic career, and explores the evolution and recognition of his music and its avant-garde status, that made him a true icon of French culture.
Almodovar: What Have I Done to Deserve This? – 23rd August
Overworked cleaning lady Gloria takes various jobs to make ends meet. Her unforgiving life is filled with eccentric characters: an abusive taxi driver husband, a drug-dealer teenage son, an unappreciative mother-in-law, and a prostitute neighbour who pays Gloria to sit in with exhibitionist clients.
Other new releases on MUBI
A freewheeling snapshot of youthful rebellion in the underground scene of 1980s Leningrad, Leto is the feel-good movie we needed this summer. Set to a soundtrack of classics from David Bowie to The Sex Pistols, and filmed in stunning black-and-white, this is a rock’n’roll musical like no other.
Music on MUBI: End of the Century: The Story of The Ramones
Filmmaker Michael Gramaglia’s years-in-the-making biography of the legendary punk band the Ramones traces nearly all the various and sundry peaks and valleys which the seminal rockers experienced over the course of their 20-plus year career before disbanding in 1995.
Locarno: Dead Horse Nebula
When Hay was seven years old, he found a dead horse in an open field and watched his father and other adults struggle to get rid of it. Unsure of this memory, he is nonetheless influenced by this incident and, when he cuts himself during a sacrificial rite, everything comes flashing back.
Dutch Angle: Chas Gerretsen & Apocalypse Now
After becoming world famous for his work as a war photographer, Chas Gerretsen was asked in 1976 by Francis Ford Coppola to capture everything on the set of his new film. This short documentary tells Gerretsen’s story through a candid interview and his photographs of the set of Apocalypse Now.
Young Yara lives with her grandmother in a valley in northern Lebanon, where most of the inhabitants have either died or moved abroad. One day Elias, a young hiker, passes by the two women’s farm. With him, Yara will experience the joys and pains of first love.
Christian Petzold: Phoenix
After surviving Auschwitz, a former cabaret singer, her face disfigured and reconstructed, returns to her war-ravaged hometown to find the gentile husband who may or may not have betrayed her. Without recognizing her, he enlists her to play his wife in a bizarre hall-of-shattered-mirrors story.
Before Blade Runner 2049 and Arrival, Denis Villeneuve blew minds with his twisting, confusing, scary drama starring Jake Gyllenhaal.
Read our interview with director Denis Villeneuve – and our review of the film here.
Abbas Kiarostami directors this story of a meeting between a man and a woman in a village in Southern Tuscany. He is a British author who has just finished giving a lecture at a conference. She is French and owns an art gallery. Together they tour the village and discover that nothing is quite what it seems.
Jared Leto and Diane Kruger star in this 2009 fantasy about the last mortal human on Earth, who reflects on his life and the ones he might have led.
Too Early Too Late
MUBI’s Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet retrospective continues with this 1982 documentary that investigates the changing relationship between people, the land, and society in France and Egypt. Shot during the anxious months of 1980, it follows the Camp David Accords and later the assassination of Egypt’s President Anwar Sadat.
Eastwood: High Plains Drifter
A drifter with no name wanders into a small town, where his gun-slinging abilities are in high demand. After being met with disapproval, locals soon realize he could help them fend off a band of criminals who have been terrorizing the town. He agrees to help, but does so with his own secret agenda. Clint Eastwood’s second film as director, the film is even more notable for its divisive, controversial reception.
When elderly matriarch Hélène discovers that her health is declining, she contacts her three children about contending with her art collection after her death. As the family gathers they must decide what to do with the inherited country estate and objects, while they also grapple with her mortality.
I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone
Rawang, an immigrant from Bangladesh living in awful conditions, takes pity on a Chinese man, Hsiao-kang, who is beaten up and left in the street. Rawang lovingly nurses him on a mattress he found. When he is almost healed, Hsiao-kang meets the waitress Chyi. His love for Rawang is put to the test.
Season of the Devil
Philippines, late 1970s. A military-controlled militia is oppressing a remote village, spreading terror both physical and psychological. The fearless young doctor Lorena who opened a clinic for the poor disappears without a trace. Her husband, activist poet Hugo Haniway, attempts to find her in Lav Diaz’s typically idiosyncratic 2018 musical.
Heaven Knows What
The film that led to the Safdie brothers working with Robert Pattinson on Good Time, Heaven Knows What immerses us in the restless world of Harley, heroin junkie in today’s New York. Tangled up in the melancholy romance of a destructive relationship with Ilja, she seeks solace with another addict, Mike. Based on the experiences of Arielle Holmes, who herself plays Harley. Read our review
In a near-future 1980s, a small desert town’s Santa Claus goes to the big city in search of his wayward daughter. On that simple premise hangs this delirious punk rock collage of Cold War fears, suburban encroachment, and magic mushroom sandwiches.
Juliette Binoche: Camille Claudel 1915
Before shocking us all with an unexpected skill for comedy, director Bruno Dumont was admired for his radically bleak explorations of human tragedy. Juliette Binoche teamed up with him for this exploration of three days in the life of troubled sculptor Camille Claudel, who was sent to a psychiatric clinic in 1913 – a stark, absorbing portrait of a tortured artist.
The Wayward Cloud
The tender missed connection of What Time Is It There?has another chance in Taipei: Hsiao-Kang, now working as an adult movie actor, meets Shiang-chyi once again. Meanwhile, the city faces a water shortage that makes the sales of watermelons skyrocket. Can a distant love conquer (or save) all?
Christian Petzold: Barbara
In 1980s East Germany, Barbara is a Berlin doctor banished to a country medical clinic for applying for an exit visa. Deeply unhappy with her reassignment and fearful of her co-workers as possible Stasi informants, Barbara stays aloof, especially from the good natured clinic head, Andre.
On the Oaxacan coast of Mexico, tales of shapeshifting, telepathy and dealings with the devil are embedded in the colonization of the Americas. Characters from the Faust legend mingle with the inhabitants, while attempting to control nature through a seemingly never-ending building project.
The Devil & Daniel Johnston
Daniel Johnston is a manic depressive, defiantly lo-fi, cult singer/songwriter/artist, whose work has proved inspirational to fans and musicians alike. Mixing archive material and his prodigious films, drawings and music, Johnston is revealed in this portrait of madness, creative genius, and love from Author: The JT LeRoy Story director Jeff Feuerzeig.
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Last chance to stream: Titles leaving MUBI soon
Available until end of: 17th August
Available until end of: 18th August
Available until end of: 19th August
The Wakhan Front
Available until end of: 20th August
Available until end of: 21st August
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Play Misty for Me
Available until end of: 24th August