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MUBI

  • #2
    Registered Users Posts: 1,730 ✭✭✭ fisgon


    MUBI, for those who don't know, is a film streaming site that curates a selection of films for streaming; there are only 30 films on the site at any one time and each film stays available for 30 days, when it disappears.

    The films are more or less arthouse films, Indie, subtitled, films from the great directors of the history of film. I have discovered it during the lockdown, and am addicted - it is a complete film education.

    At the moment, there is a stunning selection available. Some I have watched include....

    Woman in Chains – La Prisonniere – Clouzot 1966
    Started off intriguing, erotic, some light Dom and Sub, and then it turned into a very conventional love story, a guy with commitment issues, a girl who turns soppy and crazy – Jose is the girl, the central character, but also the character who lets the whole enterprise down. Falls flat at the end after a promising beginning.


    Visitor Q – Takashi Miike - 2001
    Deranged, nasty, implausible, directionless.


    L’Eclisse – Antonioni – 1962
    Very slow, some nice moments, almost nothing happens. The best scenes are those in the Roman Stock exchange which are chaotic and bedlam. The 2 main characters are Vittoria – blond, dreamy and vapid – and Piero – a good looking, arrogant, superficial stock trader. Neither very interesting nor sympathetic – had no interest in whether they would get together or not.
    It finishes with this succession of images of modern suburban life, all right angles and empty roads, as if it was commenting on something, though it all feels dated and tired.
    Also, there is no eclipse.


    Saraband – Bergman – 2003
    A film about terrible fathers, really awful, weak, contemptuous, hateful fathers. A film about the past, about loss, about regret, intense and quietly shocking. There is the suggestion of incest, suicide, there is tenderness and affection. It is like a play, arranged in 10 different scenes.


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Comments

  • #2


    Some more MUBI films available at the mo...

    My Blueberry Nights – Wong Kar Wai – 2007
    Norah Jones and Natalie Portman, what’s not to like? Tender, romantic, warm, sweet, enjoyable if slight.
    

    Chloe – Atom Egoyan – 2009
    Great cast – Julianne Moore, Amanda Seyfriend, Liam Neeson – Seyfried is truly stunning, fragile, twisted. Didn’t like the end,
    where Chloe dies and the couple who were involved with her get back together and live happily ever after. Almost feels like a punishment for the lesbian prostitute
    ; a strangely conventional ending to a seemingly innovative film.
    

    From the life of the marionettes – Ingmar Bergman – 1980
    Curious, a bit wordy and talky, explores ideas of repressed sexuality and psychology but with an old-fashioned approach. At times brutal and upsetting.
    

    Portrait of a lady on fire – Celine Sciamma – in French
    Fine, slow, touching and beautifully shot. About a painter, it looks painterly, a lot of attention to detail in the cinematography. Almost no men in the film. The repressed lesbianism is done with a soft touch, and there is no sense of a film with a message. Moving, at times gorgeous, sweet, intense.
    


  • #2


    I had seen "Portrait of a lady on fire" was added recently.

    What's My Blueberry Night like, I bought this on DVD back in the day but never watched it.


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    Haven’t watched My Blueberry Nights since its cinema release but I hated it at the time. It’s clearly a Wong Kar-Wai film but with none of the creative energy of his best work. Stick with his earlier films - Chungking Express or In The Mood For Love in particular :)


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    That echoes the consensus at the time, and is a big reason why I have never watched it. Was curious if time had somehow looked favourably on it.


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    Mr Klein by Joseph Losey and Le Corbeau by Clouzot are the two I've watched as of late on there. Both are well worth a watch and weirdly two different approaches to war time France.

    Le Corbeau from 1943 is all about poison letters and a doctor's reputation being destroyed. Ended up banned by the Vichy Regime as it was ultimately a criticism of the French people informing on their neighbours during the war.

    Mr Klein made in the sixties is about a man mistaken for being a Jew during in war time France. So he basically spends the film trying to regain his name. Losey was one of the blacklisted directors so obviously has that background factoring in, in terms of ending up an outcast.

    Really enjoying the service atm as I'm dipping into stuff I haven't gotten near in years.


  • #2


    S.M.B. wrote: »
    I had seen "Portrait of a lady on fire" was added recently.

    What's My Blueberry Night like, I bought this on DVD back in the day but never watched it.

    I mentioned it above....

    "My Blueberry Nights – Wong Kar Wai – 2007
    Norah Jones and Natalie Portman, what’s not to like? Tender, romantic, warm, sweet, enjoyable if slight."

    I really enjoyed it; it is a little sentimental, and quite stylised at times, with a weird kind of slow-motion effect thrown in now and then, but the whole feeling is languorous, seductive, subtle.


  • #2


    fisgon wrote: »
    I mentioned it above....

    "My Blueberry Nights – Wong Kar Wai – 2007
    Norah Jones and Natalie Portman, what’s not to like? Tender, romantic, warm, sweet, enjoyable if slight."

    I really enjoyed it; it is a little sentimental, and quite stylised at times, with a weird kind of slow-motion effect thrown in now and then, but the whole feeling is languorous, seductive, subtle.
    Yeah, sorry, I had seen it mentioned in your post, it was just a movie I had completely forgotten about and was wondering how those who have seen it thinks it measures up to the likes of In the Mood for Love. It did not get a good reception when it came out.


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    The lunchbox a rather lovely little film is on it at the minute as well.
    It features the late great Irrfan Khan.


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    S.M.B. wrote: »
    Yeah, sorry, I had seen it mentioned in your post, it was just a movie I had completely forgotten about and was wondering how those who have seen it thinks it measures up to the likes of In the Mood for Love. It did not get a good reception when it came out.

    I think some of the reaction is based on a certain film-snobbishness - critics were used to Wong Kar Wai making films in Mandarin and Cantonese, subtitled, with Chinese actors, with a very definite style. Then he makes something set in America, in English; there is a reluctance to accept that a director can change language and setting and still succeed.

    I would prefer Blueberry Nights to 2046, for example, though I enjoyed that too.


  • #2


    fisgon wrote: »
    there is a reluctance to accept that a director can change language and setting and still succeed.

    Don’t think that’s fair at all. Lots of cinephiles more than happy to praise a filmmaker when they make the transition to a different language - Claire Denis, Yorgos Lanthimos or Bong Joon Ho are just three of the filmmakers who’ve received great reviews in recent years for their English language efforts. If there’s a caution about international filmmakers making the leap to English or another language not their own, there’s a long history of unsuccessful efforts to justify the caution. But equally if they pull it off praise is often offered :)

    I think the main problem is that Wong Kar Wai’s later films in general just aren’t as sharp or interesting. 2046 and The Grandmaster aren’t universally beloved by any stretch of the imagination either. Of course, none of this is to say individuals can’t have wildly variant responses to any given piece of work!


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    Pretty good selection at the moment, indeed! I had stopped MUBI some time ago as I was under the impression that they had too many "fillers" on their Irish selection. I just subscribed again a few weeks ago as they had a 3 months for 1 euro offer and I have to see I am rather happy with the way to turned out.

    Many have probably seen it already but I also have to mention Grand Illusion by Jean Renoir; possibly one of the best movies ever made (to quote Orson Wells: “If I had only one film in the world to save, it would be Grand Illusion”).

    And to list a second classic, RAN by Akira Korosawa is currently showing as well.


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    Some more mini reviews of films available on MUBI at the mo...


    Night Moves – Kelly Reichart – 2013
    About eco-activists in rural Oregon. Jesse Eisenberg doesn’t so much act, as drift through the film with one expression that doesn’t really change at any time. What the film does well is create an atmosphere of foreboding, tension and secrecy, but in a very understated way. A slow-burner.
    

    Ghost town Anthology – Denis Cote – 2019
    An eerie ghost story set in rural, frozen Quebec. A local young man dies in a small village in Quebec, and this seems to set in motion some strange occurrences.
    It took a while to draw me in and was difficult to engage with. The lack of colour, the blasted landscape and the melancholy of the setting are kind of alienating. It did get more interesting in the last 30 minutes and left a sense of foreboding and dread after it.
    

    La Grande Illusion – Renoir – 1937
    Said to be an anti-war film, but that is not obvious at all – most of the movie is light-hearted, joyful, and makes being in a prisoner of war camp look like Butlins. Set in this camp during the first world war among a group of imprisoned French officers, this is largely a delight – even when it turns tragic the whole thing feels like a lot of fun. Wasn’t expecting to enjoy this as much as I did.
    


  • #2


    fisgon wrote: »
    Ghost town Anthology – Denis Cote – 2019
    An eerie ghost story set in rural, frozen Quebec. A local young man dies in a small village in Quebec, and this seems to set in motion some strange occurrences.
    It took a while to draw me in and was difficult to engage with. The lack of colour, the blasted landscape and the melancholy of the setting are kind of alienating. It did get more interesting in the last 30 minutes and left a sense of foreboding and dread after it.
    

    Thanks for mentioning this - the blurb had me vaguely interested but it was your review that got my attention. Definitely a film that requires a bit of focus - the number of secondary characters is significant, there are a lot of quiet stretches (which feel even quieter due to infrequent use of background music), plus keeping up with the subtitles if (like me) you don't speak French. But for all that I thought it was a really rewarding watch, with some nice if minimalist character and a very strong sence of place and atmosphere.

    I remember watching Biutiful years ago and being unimpressed with it, in that it felt to me like a film in which good actors and ideas somehow mixed to form the least interesting combination, and yet still with a tediously pretentious whiff of "it's magical realism, deal with it" attitude that felt unearned. Ghost Town Anthology feels like the film Biutiful was trying to be, and does it more effectively in a significantly shorter runtime to boot.


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    So Mubi have launched a new ‘library’ section which contains a bigger catalogue of titles than their usual rotating selection. Lots of classics in there from a quick browse! Some of the newer titles are VOD, but there’s lots of great titles there for subscribers :)

    https://mubi.com/library


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    https://www.facebook.com/JapaneseFilmFestivalIreland/posts/3094585923895918

    The Japanese Film Festival Ireland folks seem to be offering 3 months of mubi for people who subscribe to their newsletter, details in the facebook post.


  • #2


    Fysh wrote: »

    I remember watching Biutiful years ago and being unimpressed with it, in that it felt to me like a film in which good actors and ideas somehow mixed to form the least interesting combination, and yet still with a tediously pretentious whiff of "it's magical realism, deal with it" attitude that felt unearned. Ghost Town Anthology feels like the film Biutiful was trying to be, and does it more effectively in a significantly shorter runtime to boot.

    I wasn't 100% convinced by Ghost Town Anthology, but it did have its interesting points. I do speak some French but their Canadian accent is so strange I could understand very little without STs.

    Agree about Biutiful, I found it painful to watch, misery porn, unremitting bleakness without any kind of point or payoff.


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    Some more mini-reviews of films on MUBI - it has been my discovery of the lockdown, a real eye-opener...


    Biutiful – Iñarritu – 2007
    Just when you thought that it couldn't get more miserable and upsetting, it gets more miserable and upsetting. Really an unremitting string of disasters and pain; though Bardem completely controls the film and gives a massive, committed performance. Still, this was hard work, and way too long for such undiluted misery. I was glad when it ended.


    Ran – Kurosawa – 1983
    Wow. The battle scenes are interspersed with long scenes of two or three people, intense, heated dialogues. Kaede, the Old Man’s daughter in law, is a badass, the most interesting and compelling character in the whole film. It is hard to feel any sympathy for the patriarch, the Lear figure in the film who disowns his youngest son, so the parts that focus on him are much less compelling.
    But the whole thing is massively colourful, intense, brutal, choreographed, eye-opening. A real classic.
    

    La Strada – Fellini – 1957
    Strange mixture of farce and tragedy. A story of circus people and performers, a picaresque trip around 1950s Italy – centred on the unusual character of Gelsemina, a simple girl from a small village who is “sold” by her mother to one of these performers, Zampanò. He, played by Anthony Quinn, is a brute, an abuser and a murderer.
    In the end
    everyone worth anything dies and Zampano survives in drunken misery.
    It seems the film tries to make us feel something for Zampano, though why that should be is hard to imagine. The tone and message are a little confusing.
    

    Water lillies – Celine Sciamma – 2007
    Has its moments, but generally this is slight and a little limited. It has one great problem; namely that the two central characters are supposed to be both 15 (I only realized this afterwards while reading about it on wikipedia), but one is played by an 18 year old actress, the other by a 14 year old, and it shows. Floriane is obviously a young woman, Marie is still a child, so their relationship is hard to take seriously.
    Often feels like a slightly daring American high-school drama, but in French, complete with some of the cliches of that genre.
    


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    I see The Wild Goose Lake is exclusive to MUBI. I hope they release this physically too.


  • #2


    Some more hits and misses from Mubi... :)


    Fedora – Billy Wilder – 1978
    A very curious tale of identity switching and the pressures of Hollywood. The twist in the middle is a little hard to believe, but the whole thing is done with such style that it just about pulls it off. A cynical and fundamentally tragic view of the movie business, with some lovely moments.
     


    The Lunchbox – Batra – 2013
    Incredibly
    melancholy
    ending to a moving, subtle, sweet film. Set only 7 years ago, there is almost no modern technology in it at all – it is based around a series of letters between two people that gives it a feel of something from the 19th century. The only slight question about it is that we are supposed to believe that the gorgeous Ila is being ignored and cheated on by her husband. But that is a minor point. A delight.
     


    Let the sunshine in – Claire Denis – 2017
    A waste of time. There is no story (this is not always a bad thing), it is simply follows a Parisian artist, played by Juliette Binoche, who is going through a mid-life crisis and seems to be clinically depressed. We meet a succession of men she gets involved in, not very successfully, and that is it. It is really hard to see why this film was ever made; if you are not interested in the central character – and I wasn’t at all – they there is nothing here. French cinema at its aimless, self-important worst.



    Our little sister – Kore-eda – 2015
    Just gorgeous. A subtle exploration of family and sisterhood in modern-day Japan. No great conflicts to resolve, little overt drama; just an honest depiction of the growth of a family. Feel-good without being sentimental, understated but moving, profound, joyous and warm. A real pleasure.
     


  • #2


    Two films on there I enjoyed in the past week:

    The Go-Between (1971) - read the book in college, really liked Losey's adaptation of it with a Harold Pinter screenplay and Julie Christie and Alan Bates in leading roles.

    Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2011) - really good Japanese-American documentary about an acclaimed perfectionist sushi chef in Tokyo. Had heard of this years ago and spotted it in Mubi's library section.


  • #2


    Two films on there I enjoyed in the past week:

    The Go-Between (1971) - read the book in college, really liked Losey's adaptation of it with a Harold Pinter screenplay and Julie Christie and Alan Bates in leading roles.

    Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2011) - really good Japanese-American documentary about an acclaimed perfectionist sushi chef in Tokyo. Had heard of this years ago and spotted it in Mubi's library section.

    Also enjoyed the Go Between - haven't explored the library section yet, there's too much in the regular 30 film section to get through..... I find it is often the films I haven't heard about that are the most worth exploring so end up watching nearly all of them....


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    Haven’t watched My Blueberry Nights since its cinema release but I hated it at the time. It’s clearly a Wong Kar-Wai film but with none of the creative energy of his best work. Stick with his earlier films - Chungking Express or In The Mood For Love in particular :)

    Yeah, it looked great and the cast was amazing but I just don't think they were able to pull off the naturalistic feel that Chungking Express pulled off (Strangely naturalistic and also quite mannered at the same time. Hard to describe) - I'm especially thinking of the scene where all they staff leave, leaving Faye Wong and Tony Leung alone.

    But then again. Chungking Express and In The Mood for Love are two of my favourite movies and Wong Kar-Wai and Christopher Doyle at their best.


  • #2


    So Mubi have launched a new ‘library’ section which contains a bigger catalogue of titles than their usual rotating selection. Lots of classics in there from a quick browse! Some of the newer titles are VOD, but there’s lots of great titles there for subscribers :)

    https://mubi.com/library

    This is fantastic! Such a great find. Does anyone know why you can access the library only on their website, and not on the app?


  • #2


    Some more slices of MUBI-ness :o


    I Vitelloni – Fellini – 1953
    From a modern perspective, this is a strange watch. A film about the “layabouts” of the title, five unemployed friends who hang around their small Italian home town, aimless, dissolute, always promising to leave and never doing so. Central to the story is Fausto, a womaniser, liar, thief, who gets a local girl pregnant and is forced to marry her. The way he treats her is clearly abusive, but somehow they end up together in the end, apparently happy. A strange mixture of fun and social commentary.
    

    Tomboy – Sciamma – 2011
    A simple tale, told well. Laure is a ten year old girl who moves into a new neighbourhood with her family, and uses the opportunity to reinvent herself as a boy, Mikael. She plays football, gets a girlfriend, fights, all as a boy.
    The casting is vital in the success of the film – the young actor playing Laure is a convincing boy and it is easy to believe Laure’s lie. Her little sister, the cute and girly Jeanne, is brought into the pretence – it is her adorable character that provides a counterweight to Laure’s tomboyishness. The ending is a mixture of troubling and reassuring, but the overall movie works well and is a largely enjoyable little slice of life.
    

    45 years – Haigh – 2015
    “A devastating portrait of a marriage plunged into crisis,” is how MUBI describes this film, though it should read “a slightly melancholy view of a marriage slowly slipping into a little bit of bother.”
    An elderly couple prepare to celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary, when a tragedy from Jeff’s past comes back into their lives. It is all very pedestrian, and rarely gets off the ground. There is nothing “devastating” about it, and nothing “plunges”. Slow and a little too restrained.
    

    Passion – de Palma – 2015
    Utterly ludicrous. The overly intrusive music is by someone called Damien Damien, which tells you a lot about this movie.
    Cardboard acting, awkward edits, cliched dialogue – it should be hyper-stylish, but just falls flat. Noomi Rapace overacts her way through the film, Rachel McAdams is a cliched villain, there is overuse of dream sequences. It gets slightly more interesting towards the end, but only slightly. It is so bad it becomes entertaining. Absurd.


    Wadjda – 2012
    Hard to watch this film centering on a twelve year old girl in modern Saudi Arabia without thinking of two things; 1950s Ireland with its repression and faux morality, and the Handmaid’s Tale. The utter paranoia of a society that, for women, is like an open prison, is evident in every frame of the film. Wadjda herself, is independent, strong-willed, funny, and cannot understand why everyone is constantly telling her that she is not allowed to do things.
    It finishes on an upbeat note, but you suspect that it is only a matter of time before the stifling society squashes Wadjda and her sense of independence.
      


  • #2


    fisgon wrote: »
    Some more slices of MUBI-ness :o

    45 years – Haigh – 2015
    “A devastating portrait of a marriage plunged into crisis,” is how MUBI describes this film, though it should read “a slightly melancholy view of a marriage slowly slipping into a little bit of bother.”
    An elderly couple prepare to celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary, when a tragedy from Jeff’s past comes back into their lives. It is all very pedestrian, and rarely gets off the ground. There is nothing “devastating” about it, and nothing “plunges”. Slow and a little too restrained.
    

    Although I agree about the slow pace of the film, I really enjoyed it and found the performances from the 2 leads very good.
    I have also seen Weekend, the previous film that Andrew Haigh directed which I also enjoyed. The way he focuses on his characters is something that appeals to me, even if some episodes of the story don't necessarily add a lot to the overall picture.


  • #2


    Irish Aris wrote: »
    Although I agree about the slow pace of the film, I really enjoyed it and found the performances from the 2 leads very good.
    I have also seen Weekend, the previous film that Andrew Haigh directed which I also enjoyed. The way he focuses on his characters is something that appeals to me, even if some episodes of the story don't necessarily add a lot to the overall picture.
    I totally agree.
    I found both really effecting tbh.

    I also loved another of his films called lean on Pete, lovely, really recommend it.

    I watched cassandro the exotico! Pretty amazing story...had no idea those kind of Mexican wrestlers existed, it's slight but cassandro is tremendously engaging


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    Watched Diary of a Country Priest last night before it expired. The second best film about a rural French priest I've watched on Mubi since lockdown, the first being Léon Morin, Priest.


  • #2


    gmisk wrote: »

    I watched cassandro the exotico! Pretty amazing story...had no idea those kind of Mexican wrestlers existed, it's slight but cassandro is tremendously engaging

    Funny, Cassandro is one of the few films on MUBI at the mo I haven't watched. Might check it out. Am in the middle of Hoop Dreams, another sports-themed documentary - really excellent, engaging, involving.


  • #2


    An excellent week of MUBIs this week, not a dud among them....


    Take me somewhere nice – Sendijarevic - 2015
    This starts off fun and rich, and slowly loses its way, as if the director couldn’t really figure out how to end the story and so throws in lots of random stuff that doesn’t make any sense. The central character, Alma, is a compelling one, brought up in the Netherlands but returning to her native Bosnia to visit her father. She is independent, strong willed but confused. It is her journey really, though a journey that goes off the rails fairly strongly in the final third. Funny, wild, confused.
     



    The Past - Farhadi - 2012
    A tangled story, involving betrayal, divorce, suicide, mental health issues, though it never really seems oppressive in the treatment of the themes, maybe because the characters are flawed but sympathetic. The kids are the ones in the story let down by the adults in their lives. More than two hours, but never drags. Strangely enjoyable.
      

    Frank – Lenny Abrahamson – 2014
    Frequently hilarious, weird, tragic and sweet, with Irish actors Fassbender and Gleeson in the main roles (though neither playing an Irish character). A film about creativity and mental illness with an encouraging message; you don’t need trauma in your past to be creative. Directed by Lenny Abrahamson (Normal People and Room). Also starring Maggie Gyllenhaal, written by Jon Ronson, a great team behind a film that is largely a pleasure.
      

    Love and Friendship – Whit Stillman – 2016
    “Facts are such horrid things”, says Lady Susan (Kate Beckinsale), master-manipulator at the centre of this film laden with irony, double-speak and society-intrigue.
    At times hilarious and delightful, though it does take a bit of adapting to the very formal language of this adaptation of a Jane Austen novella. Chloe Sevigny is also great as Lady Susan’s American accomplice, Mrs Johnson; the pair are scheming and amoral, quietly wishing for the death of Mrs Johnson’s husband (Stephen Fry doing Stephen Fry), plotting and planning like a pair of army generals.
    Good fun.
      


  • #2


    Undertow wrote: »
    This is fantastic! Such a great find. Does anyone know why you can access the library only on their website, and not on the app?

    Just to note the Library should now be available on the app as well - certainly is on iOS :)


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