The Weekly MUBI Digest | 22nd December 2018
James R | On 22, Dec 2018
What do Zhang Yimou and the Coen brothers have in common? MUBI gives us the answer this week, with the director’s little-known remake of Blood Simple, plus the original noir-tinged thriller for comparison. That sets the tone for a week stuffed with variety, from Luc Besson’s The Family (just in time for awkward dramas on Boxing Day) to a Buster Keaton classic guaranteed to entertain the whole clan. Need an excuse to get out of the house this Christmas? MUBI Go (which offers a cinema ticket every week to its subscribers) is offering free tickets to see Polina at participating cinemas.
What’s new, coming soon and leaving soon on the subscription service? This is your weekly MUBI Digest:
This week on MUBI
A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop – 22nd December
Zhang Yimou takes an unexpected turn with this surprising remake of the Coen brothers’ Blood Simple in 2009. A visit by a Persian gun salesman sets off a series of fatal double-crosses involving a police deputy, the owner of a Chinese noodles shop scheme, his adulterous wife, and a pair of inept employees. The result is familiar but entirely different, full of colourful style and comic action.
Potiche – 23rd December
In a French bourgeois province in 1977, Suzanne is the submissive housewife of wealthy industrialist Robert Pujol, the tyrannical manager of an umbrella factory. When workers go on strike and take Robert hostage, Suzanne steps in to replace him, proving to be an assertive woman of action.
The Ice Storm – 24th December
It’s November 1973 in New Canaan, Connecticut and the lives of a wealthy family are quietly falling into peril. As the teenagers surreptitiously experiment with drugs and alcohol and the adults drift into mate-swapping, a dangerous blanket of freezing rain begins to cover the town.
Persepolis – 25th December
This adaptation of Marjane Satrapi’s graphic novel about a young Iranian woman, whose life is torn apart by the uprising against the oppression of the Shah, is a universal coming-of-age tale told from a truly unique perspective.
The Family – 26th December
When the Manzioni family enter the Witness Protection Program, they are relocated to a French town. Despite the best efforts of their handler to keep them in line, they resort to doing things the “family way”. However, their dependence on such habits places everyone in danger from vengeful mobsters.
Steamboat Bill Jr. – 27th December
Set on the Mississippi River in the old sidewheeler days, Steamboat Bill Jr. follows the adventures of a spoiled young man who is forced by his crusty father to learn the ropes of river-boating. Soon, his attempts expand into disaster…
Other new releases on MUBI
The owner of a seedy small-town Texas bar discovers that one of his employees is having an affair with his wife. A chaotic chain of misunderstandings, lies and mischief ensues after he devises a plot to have them murdered. The Coen brothers’ debut is an instant classic, one that paves the way for a noir-steeped career of dark crime, gripping tension and nuanced characters.
Bartas is—besides Jonas Mekas—Lithuania’s most renowned auteur. Part philosophical war film, part existential road movie, Frost navigates the Ukrainian conflict through intriguing close-ups, ambiguous psychologies and utterly absorbing conversations. Bonus: the enigmatic presence of Vanessa Paradis.
Italian cinema’s luminary of melodrama, Luchino Visconti, directs this sublime treatment of Bavarian King Ludwig’s life on a baroque canvas. Without a minute wasted, Ludwig is a lovingly decadent submergence into a complicated life torn between the beauty of art and the power of rule.
La Vie en Rose
Arguably the film that introduced Marion Cotillard to the world, this biopic celebrates and expresses the bountiful yet tragic life of French musician Édith Piaf. An immersive non-chronological structure guided by the razor sharp—Oscar-winning!—central performance make for staggering cinema.
Between more ambitious and sprawling dramas (Che, Contagion), Steven Soderbergh tends to go on a cinema cleanse by making brilliantly well-crafted genre films with intelligence to spare. One of his best is this fleet actioner propelled by a stacked cast and a star-turn from MMA star Gina Carano.
Carnival of Souls
An influence on David Lynch, George A. Romero, and Lucrecia Martel (!) this lone feature film from Herk Harvey is a bona fide cult classic of both independent filmmaking and psychological horror. An atmospheric and unsettling, haunting ghost story, innovatively shot—on a shoestring budget.
Don’t balk at the run-time: this is worth it. Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s compassionate drama of four thirty-something women offers rare emotional and psychological intimacy in its group portrait of these friends.
The Little Match Girl
After spotlighting Moguillanski in our New Argentine Cinema focus last year, we’re excited to premiere online his latest UFO. A modern day revision of Andersen’s fairy tale, this tragicomedy of manners mixes politics, opera, family and cinema—at once touchingly unassuming and delightfully excessive.
span class=”s2″ style=”color: #00a498;”>Ozu: Tokyo Story
A masterpiece in radical subtlety, Ozu’s Tokyo Story is less concerned with plot than it is with feeling. Crafted in his compassionate, contemplative style, this sensitive, quiet miracle of a film patiently reveals universal truths: about families, and moreover, the cycles and rhythms of time.
span class=”s2″ style=”color: #00a498;”>Ozu: Good Morning
Boasting a gorgeously pastel colour palette, Good Morning blends Ozu’s signature themes with disarming humour making for one of the greatest childhood films of all time.
One part Brechtian experiment, and one part send up of America, the Danish provocateur imported English language stars and staged a 30s gangsters’ tale in a studio stripped of all realism but blistered with turmoil.
Mark Wahlberg plays Micky Ward, a boxer – not a great one, but a good one. He’s the younger brother of Dicky Ecklund (Christian Bale). Dicky’s a boxer too. He once knocked down Sugar Ray. Now he spends his days smoking crack and talking to a documentary crew. The pair’s family drama, mixed with underdog sports thrills, makes for a conventional movie, but the performances (including an excellent Amy Adams) give it a massive wallop of compassion.
This vibrant second film by Katharina Mückstein — who studied under Michael Haneke — is picked up by MUBI after its festival premiere this year in Berlin. It follows Mati, who loves to spend time with the boys bombing around the quarry on her motocross bike. But, alongside her parent’s troubled marriage, Mati’s motocross gang also cracks when she begins to feel an attraction for the self-confident Carla, and notions of friendship, love and sexuality become urgent.
In 2014, Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov was imprisoned for 20 years by the Russian government on false accusations of terrorism. As protest, MUBI releases his 2012 documentary about a young Ukrainian guy who spends most of his time playing video games. He is great at shooting enemies in Quake but not so successful in his real life, from which he tries but fails to escape.
Godard: The Image Book
After screening in cinemas on Sunday 2nd December, MUBI exclusively releases The Image Book online. Jean-Luc Godard returns with a bracing, beautiful and confrontational essay film. Splicing together classic film clips and newsreel footage, often stretched, saturated and distorted almost beyond recognition, The Image Book interrogates our relationship with film, culture and global politics. Read our full review
Before The Image Book arrives, go back to Godard’s most iconic work, which follows petty thug Michel, who panics and impulsively kills a policeman while driving a stolen car. On the lam, he turns to his aspiring journalist girlfriend Patricia, hiding out in her Paris apartment. When Patricia learns that Michel is being investigated for murder, she begins to question her loyalties.
Lina Rodriguez: Senoritas
Colombia-born, Canada-based Lina Rodriguez elegantly questions the role of young women in a patriarchal society with her first two features. Having been compared to Lena Dunham’s Girls, Señoritas beautifully captures the minutiae of adolescence.
Lina Rodriguez: This Time Tomorrow
With a story strikingly split in two, Lina Rodriguez’s This Time Tomorrow is a compelling study on family and loss, surfacing the clash between everyday life and transformative change. As with her debut, the film offers a window into the urban middle classes rarely portrayed in Colombian cinema.
Nic Roeg: The Man Who Fell to Earth
MUBI’s Nicolas Roeg tribute continues with this iconic cult sci-fi starring David Bowie as an alien who lands on Earth to source out water for his dying planet. He starts a highly advanced and profitable tech company in order to build a spacecraft to transport the water, but his plans are threatened when the government intercepts…
Nic Roeg: Walkabout
MUBI pays tribute to Nicolas Roeg with one of his most iconic triumphs: right from its dreamy opening and its irrationally terrifying plunge, Walkabout is a hallucinatory, mysterious, timeless masterpiece.
After its premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival, MUBI shines a spotlight on this second film from Katharina Mückstein, who studied under Michael Haneke. It follows Mati, who loves to spend time with the boys bombing around the quarry on her motocross bike. But, alongside her parent’s troubled marriage, Mati’s motocross gang also cracks when she begins to feel an attraction for the self-confident Carla, and notions of friendship, love and sexuality become urgent.
F.J. Ossang: Doctor Chance
MUBI concludes its close-up on F. J. Ossang with this feverish film noir-meets-road movie across the Atacama desert, starring Marisa Paredes and Joe Strummer as lovers on the run.
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Last chance to stream: Titles leaving MUBI soon
Available until end of: 22nd December
Available until end of: 23rd December
Maps to the Stars
Available until end of: 24th December
In the Shadow of Women
Available until end of: 25th December
Available until end of: 26th December
A Star Is Born
Available until end of: 27th December
Treasure of the Bitch Islands
Available until end of: 28th December
Available until end of: 29th December
House of Bare Mountain
Available until end of: 30th December