MUBI is a streaming platform for discerning movie lovers – the individuals who pop into your head when you read or hear, the word cinephile – if Netflix is an all-you-can-eat buffet, MUBI is fine dining.
They've got all you favourite's on the menu – Akerman, Bergman, both the Coppola's – but they aren't always available.
The platform provides a hand-curated selection of films on demand, in its 'Film of the Day' section, which is limited to 30 movies. One is added, and one is removed daily.
In addition to this, the platform has a large catalogue of movies available in its 'Library' section, which are mostly films that have previously appeared in the daily selection, but curation is present here as well – films are grouped according to a variety of themes like time periods, or film festivals.
The 'MUBI Top 1000' is a collection of the greatest movies ever made, that are highly-rated by the platform's community. Director-focused collections such as 'Voila Varda' and 'The Psychomagic Cinema of Alejandro Jodorowsky' allow you to take a deep dive into an auteur's oeuvre.
'First Films First' is a recent thematic addition that allows you to view your favourite director's early work and contemplate on their growth as an artist.
Granted, this overly curated approach might limit the platform's appeal to a wider audience and there are no television series to binge on, which is a staple of most platforms. The content provided by MUBI requires focus and can not be watched with a smartphone in hand, mostly because you'll need to read subtitles.
However, you're almost guaranteed to find something new to watch every day and if nothing takes your fancy – there's always tomorrow to look forward to.
Films can be streamed in 1080p and if you use the mobile app you can download movies for offline viewing.
The platform is complemented by a fantastic publication called Notebook, which offers a blend of film criticism and news and it has a strong community – viewers are allowed to rate and comment on each film they watch, which often gives rise to enlightening debate.
MUBI is also a film distributor and producer, which frequently debuts the work of respected and up-and-coming directors on the platform. One of the best releases of 2020, the critically acclaimed Bacurau, which took home the Cannes Jury Prize, was a MUBI release.
A MUBI subscription costs R119.99 per month and you have the option to share any movie you enjoy with your friends or family for free by gifting it to them – they will receive the film link via email, as well as a 7-day trial to the platform.
Students can subscribe at a discounted rate of R69.99.
These are some of the best movies currently streaming on MUBI South Africa
SWALLOW (2019)| Directed by Carlo Mirabella-Davis
A pregnant housewife, Hunter appears to have it all. However, as the pressure to meet her controlling in-laws and Ken-doll husband’s rigid expectations mounts, cracks begin to appear in her carefully created facade. Hunter develops a dangerous eating habit, and a dark secret from her past seeps out.
COLD MERIDIAN (2020) | Directed by Peter Strickland
The repeated rituals of an online performer have a transfixing effect on her viewers, in this short exploration of sensual audiovisual stimulation. What starts as an exploration of tactility, addiction and control soon descend into a nightmarish dance performance where no rules apply.
THE 400 BLOWS (1959) | Directed by François Truffaut
The 400 Blows traces 14-year-old Antoine Doinel’s odyssey through a life of aloof parents, oppressive teachers and petty crime. A loner on the brink of rebellion, Antoine is buoyed along the way by a touching friendship, a love of cinema, and the hope of escape.
LA HAINE (1995) | Directed by Mathieu Kassovitz
Based on real events, La Haine follows three friends over the course of one day in the housing projects of Paris’ banlieue after a riot. With tension in the air and the police on constant surveillance, it’s not long before prejudice and hostility turns into violence, with tragic consequences.
The revolutionary Indianara fights with her gang for the survival of transgender people in Brazil, striving to put into practice her ideals. Nearing her fifties, facing the attacks of her political party and suffering the advance of totalitarianism, she joins forces for a last act of resistance.
TRASH HUMPERS (2009) | Directed by Harmony Korine
A film unearthed from the buried landscape of the American nightmare, Trash Humpers follows a small group of elderly “Peeping Toms” through the shadows and margins of an unfamiliar world. The participants themselves, as true sociopaths, crudely document their debased and shocking actions.
SHORT TERM 12 (2013) | Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton
Grace is a supervisor at a foster-care facility for at-risk teenagers. She is passionate about her work, though she struggles with her own troubled past. When Jayden, a gifted, restless teenager, arrives at the facility, Grace is no longer able to ignore the difficulties of her own childhood.