The Weekly MUBI Digest | 25th August 2018
James R | On 25, Aug 2018
With the news that MUBI has snapped up the theatrical rights to Amazon’s Suspiria remake in the UK, all eyes are on the subscription streaming service. This week, though, it’s business as usual, as the site continues to shine a light on films from around the world, including a season dedicated to Chinese director Lou Ye – one of the country’s defiant artists – a double-bill of Preston Sturges and one of the greatest films of all time, as picked by First Reformed director Paul Schrader.
What’s new, coming soon and leaving soon on the subscription service? This is your weekly MUBI Digest:
This week on MUBI
Lou Ye: Spring Fever – 25th August
Luo Haitao has been hired by Wang Ping’s wife to spy on the passionate relationship between her husband and another man, but slowly loses control of the situation. With his beautiful girlfriend, Li Jing, he is drawn in to the affair, overcome by the fever of drunken spring nights.
Paul Schrader Picks: 8 1/2 – 26th August
A talented director’s new project is unravelling around him, along with his life. His search for inspiration leads him down many a strange and twisted paths. Known as one of the greatest films about film ever made, it turns one man’s artistic crisis into a grand epic of the cinema.
Sullivan’s Travels – 27th August
MUBI kicks off a Preston Sturges double-bill with this classic adventure. Hollywood director Joel McCrea, tired of churning out lightweight comedies, decides to make O Brother, Where Art Thou, a serious, socially responsible film about human suffering. After his producers point out that he knows nothing of hardship, he hits the road as a hobo.
The Lady Eve – 28th August
MUBI’s Preston Sturges double-bill concludes wit this Oscar-nominated 1940s comedy. It’s no accident when wealthy Charles falls for Jean–she is a con artist with her sights set on his fortune. But matters complicate when she starts falling for him. When Charles suspects Jean is a gold digger, he dumps her. Jean, fixated on revenge, devises a plan to re-conquer him.
New Canadian Cinema: Idizwadidiz – 29th August
Two friends walk and draw circles. It is what it is, idizwadidiz, c’est ce que c’est, seskecé. Nice weather.
New Canadian Cinema: Maison du Bonheur – 30th August
In 30 carefully constructed segments, Maison du bonheur paints an endearing picture of the everyday life of 77-year-old Juliane Sellam, a long-time resident of Paris. Alone in her Montmartre apartment, Sellam enjoys the little things in life.
Lou Ye: Blind Passage – 31st August
Ma lost his sight in a childhood accident and now relies on his hearing. His co-workers in a Nanjing massage parlour share his fate. With a camera that follows closely as they feel their way about and a soundtrack that takes note of even the tiniest of noises, this film enters a world of darkness.
Other new releases on MUBI
The Andromeda Strain
Chilling tale about a US research satellite carrying a deadly extraterrestrial microscopic organism that crashes into a small town in Arizona. A group of top scientists are hurriedly assembled in a bid to identify and contain the lethal stowaway.
Machete, a legendary ex-federal officer, is left for dead after clashing with notorious Mexican drug kingpin Torrez. He escapes to Texas, trying to forget his past. But what he finds is a web of corruption that leaves a bullet in a senator and Machete a wanted man.
Tell Me the Story of All These
Tell me the Story Of all These Things is an accumulation of several narrative threads drawing together intimate conversations between the artist and her two sisters, ominous animated visions of a metamorphosing body, e-learning training on Prevent, and staged, performed gestures.
Mass for Shut-Ins
Twentysomething Kay Jay sleeps on his grandfather Loppers’ couch. Bored, Kay Jay plays with fire, aimlessly wanders through the night, encounters strangers and gets hassled by September, his aggro delinquent brother.
A Cambodian Spring
A Cambodian Spring charts the chaotic and violent wave of change shaping modern-day Cambodia, and follows three activists over six years as they speak out against the injustices taking place all around them in the name of progress, development and democracy.
A chance meeting sets 25-year-old Portuguese Rastafarian Djon África on the track of his roots in Cape Verde. He hopes to finally find his father, an adventurer whom he doesn’t know. But things never go as planned in life – and particularly in this charming search for Djon’s identity.
The Last Emperor
MUBI marks the UK release of Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda with a string of films scored by the composer. Bernardo Bertolucci’s Oscar-winning biopic traces the life of Pu Yi, the last of the great emperors of China, from his ascent to the throne at age three, in 1908, to the time he was imprisoned in the Forbidden City, witnessing decades of cultural and political upheaval.
The Sheltering Sky
MUBI marks the UK release of Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda with a string of films scored by the composer. Bertolucci’s The Sheltering Sky is a scenic adaptation of Paul Bowles’ existential novel about an American couple (Debra Winger and John Malkovich), traveling through North Africa in hopes of rekindling their long-strained marriage, only to find further alienation in their post-colonial dalliances.
Paul Schrader Picks: I Am Cuba
Four episodes chronicle Cuba’s ascent from colonialist degradation and totalitarian rule of Batista’s regime to a revolution that spreads across the country’s classes and regional lines. Read our full review
Paul Schrader Picks: My Man Godfrey
Irene, an eccentric, wealthy Manhattanite, wins a society-ball scavenger hunt after finding a “forgotten man”—an apparent down-and-out drifter—at a dump. She hires him as the family butler and soon falls for him, driving her to to both woo Godfrey and indoctrinate him in the household’s dysfunction.
Paul Schrader Picks: T-Men
Dennis O’Brien (Dennis O’Keefe) and Tony Genaro (Alfred Ryder) are Treasury agents (“T-Men”) who go undercover in Detroit and then Los Angeles, in an attempt to break a US currency counterfeiting ring.
“I chose this film for one reason: John Alton, an absolutely legendary cinematographer. He is a grand master of light and shadow, and film noir – there are many things you could say about this movie, but it’s just a marvel to watch.”
Paul Schrader Picks: Listen to Britain
A depiction of life in wartime England during the Second World War. Director Humphrey Jennings visits many aspects of civilian life and of the turmoil and privation caused by the war, all without narration.
“Humphrey Jennings brought something very new to documentaries with this film, and he did this film at a low point for Britain – yet it is absolutely full of originality and full of humanity.”
The link between cinema and magic has been there from the start. Joining forces with Edward Norton (terrific, of course) and the lovely Jessica Biel, Neil Burger scored a transporting sleeper hit, part mystery, part thriller, part romance, a classical tale that hooks our fascination for tricks.
Lou Ye: Love and Bruises
The 3rd film in MUBI’s Lou Ye retro was made during the director’s exile for having made Summer Palace. It follows Hua, who, exiled in Paris, wanders between her tiny apartment and the university, drifting between former lovers and recent French acquaintances. She meets Matthieu, a young worker who falls madly in love with her. Possessed by an insatiable desire for her body, he treats her like a dog.
Lou Ye: Purple Butterfly
Ding Hui (Zhang Ziyi) is a member of Purple Butterfly, a powerful resistance group in Japanese occupied Shanghai. An unexpected encounter reunites her with Itami, an ex-lover and officer with a secret police unit tasked with dismantling Purple Butterfly. MUBI begins its retrospective of the great, subversive Chinese director Lou Ye.
Lou Ye:Summer Palace
After his memory-clouded Purple Butterfly, Lou Ye opted for greater directness in his next romance, set among Beijing students during the 1980s. Featuring both Chinese film’s first full nudity and overt reference to the Tiananmen Square police action, he was banned from filmmaking for 5 years. It is 1989, and country girl Yu Hong leaves her village, her family and her lover to study in Beijing. At university, she discovers an intense world of sexual freedom and forbidden pleasure.
Direct from Locarno: Meteors
MUBI continues its highlights from last year’s Locarno Festival is Gürcan Keltek’s textured and evocative documentary. Unexpectedly connecting cosmic chaos—a gobsmacking meteor shower—and the armed conflict between Turks and Kurds, Keltek finds resonances both political and poetic.
Direct from Locarno: Cocote
Cocote is a bewitching revenge thriller, as enigmatic as it is exhilarating, that subverts dominant paradigms of representation to ultimately reinvent the genre.
New Canadian Cinema: The Stairs
Three people use their experiences surviving decades of drug use and sex work to help their community. Told over five years, their surprising stories reveal a world often misunderstood.
New Canadian Cinema: The Art of Speech
One of Québec’s most inventive cinematic poets, Olivier Godin crafted his sophomore film on a shoe-string budget with an expressionist use of digital video and boundless imagination. The result: The Art of Speech is a densely layered, Godardian comedy laced with an evocative mystery and romance.
New Canadian Cinema: Historytelling
MUBI continues its exploration of Canadian cinema with a documentary short that offers its voice to a classroom of children of varying milieu to bravely beckon us to listen to future generations regarding history and the future. Shot on the First Nations reserve of Pessamu, Québec.
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Last chance to stream: Titles leaving MUBI soon
Available until end of: 25th August
Available until end of: 26th August
Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence
Available until end of: 27th August
Available until end of: 28th August
Available until end of: 29th August
Available until end of: 30th August
Le Fort Des Fous
Available until end of: 31st August
I Am Cuba
Available until end of: 1st September