The Weekly MUBI Digest | 4th May 2019
Staff Reporter | On 04, May 2019Reading time: 8 mins
MUBI is counting the days until its latest cinema release this week, with Madeline’s Madeline becoming the culmination of a week-long retrospective of director Joseph Decker’s work, both in front of, and behind, the camera. Equally comprehensive is its ongoing retrospective of the important husband and wife filmmaking partnership Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet, but there’s still time between them all for another slice of Spike Lee’s back catalogue.
In the mood for a cinema trip? You can also use MUBI Go (which offers a free cinema ticket every week to its subscribers), to see Vox Lux 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
Crooklyn – 4th May
Spike Lee returns to the old Brooklyn stomping grounds of his adolescence with this dazzling film co-written with his two siblings. It follows the day-to-day joys and frustrations of Troy, a young girl living in 1970s Brooklyn with her four older brothers and her loving but complicated parents.
Josephine Decker:Art History – 7th May
Josephine Decker stars in Joe Swanberg’s filmic act of self-reflection. Sam likes Juliette, the lead actress in his sexually explicit film, but he must remain professional while directing her. When Juliette and her co-star Eric develop feelings for each other that they explore off-camera, Sam feels jealous, and his inner struggles threaten to derail the project.
Straub + Huillet: Not Reconciled, or Only Violence Helps Where Violence Rules – 8th May
50 years of German history in nearly 50 minutes, such is Straub-Huillet’s audacity. For such a scope, the duo reject conventional storytelling in favor of a more confrontative, daring cinema. Time and people are fragmented across eras in order to discover the past within the present—and vice versa.
Josephine Decker: Madeline’s Madeline – 10th May
Madeline has become an active member of an experimental theatre troupe. When its ambitious director pushes Madeline to weave her rich interior world and her troubled relationship with her mother into their collective art, the lines between performance and reality begin to blur.
Other new releases on MUBI
Scarlett Johansson and Jonathan Rhys Meyers are on steamy form in this Dostoevskian thriller about luck, fate and British society – watch out for a scene-stealing turn from Matthew Goode.
Cold in July
Michael C Hall stars as a man who shoots a low-life burglar in 1989 Texas. He’s hailed as a hero by the town, but his father is soon out for revenge… (Read our full review)
MUBI Undiscovered: The Wild Frontier
MUBI’s Undiscovered strand, spotlighting adventurous films that push boundaries, kicks off with this compassionate 2017 French documentary that tacks us inside the Calais Jungle, as it’s partially torn down, leaving expelled migrants to move to the Northern zone to find shelter and keep on living.
Josephine Decker: Me the Terrible
With Madeline’s Madeline on the way to cinemas, MUBI begins a Josephine Decker retrospective with this wondrous, charmingly eccentric ode to imagination.
byNWR: Olga’s House of Shame
The notorious exploitation entry that jumpstarted an entire “roughie” genre of S&M-tinged exploitation films. Audrey Cambell plays Olga, a sadistic jewel-thieving madame who hides in an abandoned mine and exacts all kinds of misery upon those who defy her—all told in oddball semi-documentary style.
Following its theatrical release, award-winning documentary The Raft docks at MUBI, which follows what happened in 1973, when 5 men and 6 women embarked on a raft as part of a scientific experiment studying violence, aggression and sexual attraction in human behaviour.
Of Horses and Men
In a remote valley in Iceland, where neighbours follow each other closely and people have deeply intertwined relationships with their horses, a couple’s first official visit is keenly monitored. Spring is coming and, with it, the dangerous force of nature. This cannot end well.
“Soon all the trees in the world will have fallen… I think it’s October, but I can’t be sure. I haven’t kept a calendar for years.”
The post-apocalyptic world is a grey place. Drowned in decaying ash, it sits in ruins, foraged by the few who survived. Among them are a father (Viggo Mortensen) and his boy (Kodi Smit-McPhee). Shot in a morbid monochrome, the film’s depressing palette only lifts in the flashbacks, showing us the life that was destroyed by the fire. Glowing off-screen in threatening flickers, we never see the destruction first-hand – John Hillcoat’s framing is perfect throughout, unflinching yet resolutely enigmatic. Despite its weighty content, the result is a precise and poignant piece of film-making. One that demands to be seen, even if you won’t enjoy it.
The Breakfast Club
“Don’t you forget about me…” (Read our full review)
Between Buena Vista Social Club and The Salt of the Earth, Wim Wenders struck gold with Pina, an Academy Award-nominated documentary profile of Pina Bausch. A fitting tribute to the iconic dancer and choreographer, a cinematic spectacle of bodies in motion on-stage and off.
Straub + Huillet: Machorka-Muff
Relishing his political and sexual prospects in postwar Germany, a former Nazi colonel muses on the stupidity of the bourgeoisie, who can be easily duped in the voting booth and in the bedroom. Jean-Marie Straub and Daniele Huillet direct this vision of post-war German society, which is by turns wry and ruthless.
Perhaps one of the most intoxicating portraits of the “neither with nor without you” romantic scenario, The Fire is a tale of self-destructive love taking place over the course of 24 hours in Buenos Aires.
The Double Life of Veronique
One of the most acclaimed films by Polish master Krzysztof Kieslowski (Dekalog, Three Colors), Veronique is a haunting, mysterious tale of connection, separation, and yearning.
The Last Temptation of Christ
Jesus, a humble Judean beginning to see that he is the son of God, is drawn into action against the Roman occupiers by Judas—despite his protestations that love is the path to salvation. As he is put to death on the cross, Jesus is tempted by visions of an ordinary life married to Mary Magdalene. Scorsese and Schrader team up for this controversial drama that tells the story of Jesus Christ with passion, faith, doubt and fear.
Shot in 16mm, this faithful throwback to the politically-charged blaxploitation film impressively doubles as a tribute and a tonic: a comprehensive (and revisionist!) run-through of all this dubious genre’s tricks and tropes. An intelligent, hilarious pastiche no doubt destined to be a cult classic.
Matt Dillon embodies the perfect Bukowskian doppelgänger in this irresistibly cynical adaptation. Derived from the tales of the writer’s early working life, Factotum captures all of the vulgar poeticism that was this man’s essence.
Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief
Prolific documentarian Alex Gibney takes on one of the hot button subjects of modern times: Scientology and its alleged cult-like methods of control and abuse. Through a series of tell all interviews with reformed believers and banished members, Going Clear unravels the Church’s uncanny practices.
Straub + Huillet: Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach
A chronicle of Johann Sebastian Bach’s life, using correspondences and texts written by the composer, and read by his wife, Anna Magdalena Bach. Eschewing drama to focus almost entirely on his music, it consists largely of expansive scenes of Bach conducting or playing his brilliant compositions.
MUBI Luminaries: Love Education
MUBI’s new strand dedicated to works from the established masters of cinema begins with Sylvia Chang’s 2017 drama. A dying old lady reminisces about her happier moments. Her daughter decides to move her father’s grave from his hometown to beside her mother’s grave. However, his first wife, who has looked after the grave for years, doesn’t approve.
Luis Buñuel: Belle de Jour
Frigid, beautiful young housewife Séverine cannot reconcile her kinky, sadomasochistic imagination with her everyday life alongside dutiful husband Pierre. She starts an afternoon job in a local, high-class brothel under the name Belle de Jour while her husband is away at work. Luis Buñuel’s dark comedy about desire is one of his biggest successes.
Luis Buñuel: That Obscure Object of Desire
MUBI closes its retrospective on Luis Buñuel, the cinema maestro of Surrealism, with his last film: an impiously perverse take on hypocrisy and human desire within a patriarchal society.
Luis Buñuel: The Phantom of Liberty
Following his Oscar win for The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, Buñuel landed his biggest production, which birthed one of his most incendiary films of subversive hilarity. Bourgeois convention is demolished in the surrealist gem, which features an elegant soirée with guests seated on toilet bowls, poker-playing monks using religious medals as chips, and police officers looking for a missing girl who is right under their noses…
A monthly subscription to MUBI costs £9.99 a month, with a 30-day free trial.
Last chance to stream: Titles leaving MUBI soon
The Beat That My Heart Skipped
Available until end of: 4th May
On the Road
Available until end of: 5th May
Available until end of: 6th May
Fifi Howls from Happiness
Available until end of: 7th May
The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie
Available until end of: 8th May
The Image You Missed
Available until end of: 9th May
The Patriot Game
Available until end of: 10th May
Available until end of: 11th May