The MUBI Weekly Digest | 4th January 2020
Staff Reporter | On 04, Jan 2020
MUBI’s run of directorial debuts continue with Kelly Reichardt, Josh Safdie, Luc Besson and Joanna Hogg – and some added Godard goodies for good measure.
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This week 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.
Other new releases on MUBI
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.
Andrey Zvyagintsev: Leviathan
In a small coastal Russian town, a man decides to fight against the corrupt local officials who impose a compulsory purchase order on his land. Kolia defiantly refuses to give up his home, and recruits a lawyer friend to help, but the man’s arrival brings further misfortune for Kolya and his family.
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?
The cinematic road trip to end all road trips—Monte Hellman’s counterculture classic captures the 1970s in one hypnotic ride across the American landscape.
Andrey Zvyagintsev: The Return
A master of seething family tensions, Andrey Zvyagintsev (Leviathan, Loveless) made waves right from the start with this auspicious debut film.
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.
Bergman: To Joy
The film begins with Stig learning of the sudden death of his wife Marta. During a prolonged flashback, Stig remembers the delights and tribulations of their relationship, back to their early days in the orchestra conducted by the eminent Sönderby, a time when Stig was riddled with self-doubt.
With this polemical inquiry into Rembrandt’s famous painting “The Night Watch”, British provocateur and notorious pedant Peter Greenaway delves deep into the concept of truth. A witty film essay exploring the way we look at and understand art, coloured with absurd appearances by Greenaway himself.
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.
Renoir: Elena and Her Men
Pre-World War I Paris: Polish countess Elena drives men of all stations to fits of desperate love. When she elicits the fascination of a famous general, Elena finds herself at the center of political scheming, with the hearts of several men—as well as the future of France—in her hands.
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: A Woman is A Woman
Exotic dancer Angela attempts to have a child with her unwilling lover Emile. But Alfred, Emile’s best friend who is in love with Angela, is happy to be a father. Angela loves Emile and refuses Alfred’s advances, but leads Emile to believe that she is infatuated with his friend.
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.
A hidden gem from Philippe Garrel’s haunting filmography, this pocket melodrama meditates on loss, filmmaking, and the obstacles of an unstable relationship. Borrowing biographical details from the French auteur’s own love story with the singer Nico, L’enfant secret is a work of intimate poetry.
The Wandering Soap Opera
A series of dreamily interconnected vignettes whose characters find themselves in all types of absurd situations combining melodrama and fantasy. The antics of soap archetypes like adulterers and femme fatales are treated with irony, resulting in
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Last chance to stream: Titles leaving MUBI soon
Available until end of: 4th January
Lonely Are the Brave
Available until end of: 5th January
Three Colors: Blue
Available until end of: 6th January
Taste of Cherry
Available until end of: 7th January
The Wind Will Carry Us
Available until end of: 8th January
Available until end of: 9th January
Available until end of: 10th January
A Woman Is a Woman
Available until end of: 11th January