Welcome to another update on our growing library of independent, international and classic cinema at MUBI. More films are added each week in different countries, but here are some of my favorites that we’ve added this week:
Films by José Mojica Marins
The Strange Hostel of Naked Pleasures, Hellish Flesh, The Strange World of Coffin Joe, and the documentary The Strange World of Mojica Marins.
We’re expanding our cult offerings this week with a small but intense group of films by Brazilian cult-horror maestro José Mojica Marins, the legendary creator, director, and actor of the famed Coffin Joe films. Don’t take my word for it, but rather let me point to our honorable comrade in arms Christoph Huber, who profiled Marins for the wonderful Canadian film magazine Cinema Scope on the occasion of the auteur resurrecting his famous bogeyman in 2008 for a new film: The Man, The Myth, Mojica: Zé do Caixão’s incredible comeback. We also include in this series a documentary, The Strange World of José Mojica Marins, for some background on the subject; a film Huber calls “an excellent introduction to [Marins’] work (and myth).”
Available in: Austria, Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland
Breaking the Waves (Lars von Trier, Denmark)
After shocking the film industry with the Dogme 95 manifesto of filmmaking restrictions, Lars von Trier prototypically does an about face to break all the rules he himself set up. (He would later make a single Dogme film, The Idiots, but then return to the aesthetic of Breaking the Waves digitally with Dancer in the Dark.) Breaking the Waves marked a new phase in the career of one of the most prominent international filmmakers of our time, shifting from the baroque stylization of his previous genre pastiches and pushing towards the heightened emotionalism, bordering on sensationalism and bitter sentimentality, of melodramas. Instead of blowing up the emotions into ornate domestic sets and explosive colors like the American melodramas of the 1950s, von Trier applied aspects of his Dogme philosophy to present a brutally, affectingly stripped down approach to the inner turmoil of a married couple’s grappling with faith and with each other. One of the most memorable films of the 1990s.
Available in: Australia, Ireland, Italy , Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland
Afterschool (Antonio Campos, USA)
Amongst endless American indie films about mushmouthed-talking, emo-acting “naturalistic” or “realistic” young adults living in the States today, Antonio Campos’ debut feature functions as a startling correction, and an immediate declaration of a new talent in the country. The closest comparison for Afterschool isn’t ramshackle, lo-fi romantic comedies but rather the psychological thrillers of alienation and violence of Austrian provocateur Michael Haneke. Taking place in a remote boarding school, a young student accidentally films the death of two classmates, and as the school reels in shock, the young student pursues his own path of paranoia and obsession.
Available in: Portugal
Soul Kitchen (Fatih Akin, Germany)
Award-winning filmmaker Fatih Akin (Head-On, The Edge of Heaven) is one of the most well-known and well-regarded directors currently working in Germany. After two serious dramas Akin here lightens things up by focusing on two resplendent cultural specialties: food and music. Soul Kitchen played in competition at the Venice film festival, winning a special jury prize, as well as playing at Toronto and Tribeca, among others.
Available in: Norway
The Blues: Feel Like Going Home (Martin Scorsese, USA)
Martin Scorsese (Shutter Island, Taxi Driver) joins the ranks including Wim Wenders, Charles Burnett, and Clint Eastwood by directing an entry in The Blues, the acclaimed American documentary series on—you guessed it—blues music. Scorsese’s rich, colorful entry looks at the movement of musical traditions from Africa to the Mississippi Selta.
Available in: France, Switzerland