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The Film Posters of Mihajlo Arsovski

On a recent visit to Zagreb in Croatia, I was stopped in my tracks by this poster, above, in the Museum of Contemporary Art. It is a design for the First Science Fiction Fair held in 1972 in the museum’s previous incarnation as the Gallery of Contemporary Art. The poster’s artist, Mihajlo Arsovski, had been designing exhibition posters for the Gallery for more than a decade and this poster was awarded the Gold Medal at the International Poster Exhibition in Varese,…

Ten Minutes, but a Few Meters Longer: Mia Hansen-Løve's Memories in Locations

Legend has it that the art of memory was born from death—when the ceiling of a Thessalian nobleman’s dining hall collapsed and killed all but Simonides of Ceos. He was able to identify his fellow guests, smooshed beyond recognition, by remembering their seat at the table, thus associating each person with a locality. The pre-Socratic poet soon began to experiment with localizing abstract ideas to objects in an imaginary house, which he could pick up one by one—each a symbol of…

Out of the Inkwell: Animating Anxious Bodies

When T.S. Eliot famously asked “Do I dare to eat a peach?” in The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, he was alluding to social and bodily anxiety, and the sticky traps that can ensnare the unsuspecting. Eliot’s J. Alfred finds a reason to be anxious about even the most mundane objects or situations—though eating in public (especially syrupy fruits) is a common anxiety. And while a peach should be an innocuous, enjoyable object, in practice a ripe peach can spontaneously…

Movie Poster of the Week: The Top Ten Favorite Posters of Maks Bereski, aka Plakiat

The artist known as Plakiat, real name Maks Bereski, is one of a couple of incredibly talented poster designers currently spearheading a revival in the art of the Polish movie poster. The heyday of the Polish poster was from the early 1950s through the late 1980s, but the demise of Communism and the opening of borders brought about the end of a movement that used metaphor and surrealism as a form of subversion. In the age of the internet, however, appreciation…

Perfect Illusion: The Cinema of Artificial Intelligence

WALL-E (2008) is just one in a growing tradition of films that depict artificial intelligence by anthropomorphizing it, an inclination that originated along with the concept. When the field was launched at a Dartmouth conference in 1956, the name was selected over alternatives like cybernetics, automata theory, and complex information processing because the notion of intelligence oriented machines toward a human metric—the conference’s organizer, John McCarthy, believed that the differences between human and machine tasks were merely “illusory.” Twenty years later,…

MUBI Talks to Oliver Sim About His Film "Hideous"

Oliver Sim is the star and co-writer of Yann Gonzalez's Hideous, now showing exclusively on MUBI in the series Brief Encounters. In this three-part queer horror movie, Sim is the main guest on a talk show that soon slides into a surreal journey of love, shame, and blood. The film also features songs from Sim’s debut album, Hideous Bastard.

The Current Debate: “Nope” and the Society of the Spectacle

Jordan Peele’s Nope is a UFO story where characters aren’t concerned with killing an alien so much as capturing it on camera. In that regard, it’s an extraterrestrial thriller that feels very much in sync with our zeitgeist, one whose chief preoccupation revolves around our struggles to process singular, horrific happenings in an age when they are so swiftly commodified into something sellable, scrollable, and endlessly watchable. 

Recent reviews

Before the global success of Parasite, Bong Joon Ho made his English-language debut with this high-concept vision of a world on the verge of collapse. Jump aboard with a monster ensemble including Octavia Spencer, Tilda Swinton, John Hurt & Song Kang-ho and let the clash of class hierarchies begin!

Now showing here.

Constellating fragments from decades of film and television, newcomer Anthony Ing creates a playful, yet profound portrait of a woman who has toiled in the margins of our screens. Forget about stars: this hypnotic short is entranced with the nameless people who form the wondrous texture of life.

Now showing here.

This ambitious first adaptation of Frank Herbert’s dynastic sci-fi epic was panned in its day, but time has been very kind to the film’s grand production design, practical effects, and surreal soundscapes. Just as the spice must flow, so must the cult following for David Lynch’s Dune grow!

Now showing here.

A faithful adaptation of author Bret Easton Ellis’ highly controversial novel, this punchy look at the corporate morals of 1980s America is a ride at once disturbing and brightly satirical. Modern narcissism has rarely been portrayed as remarkably on screen. Starring a superb Christian Bale!

Now showing here.

David Fincher’s pugilistic fourth feature lobbed a stylistic dirty bomb of mischief into the arena of millennium anxiety, consumer culture, and fractured masculinity. Brad Pitt and Edward Norton lead a cast that includes Helena Bonham Carter, Jared Leto and Meat Loaf. Consider the first rule broken.

Now showing here

A change of pace from flexible director Fatih Akin (Head On, In the Fade), this ensemble comedy is a crowd-pleasing, lively look at the frantic and frenzied reality of running a restaurant. Set in Hamburg, Soul Kitchen is another of Akin’s depictions of modern, multicultural Germany.

Now showing here.

Starring the great Hanna Schygulla (The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant), Fatih Akin followed up his Golden Bear-winner Head-On with this intricate drama. Though split between Germany and Turkey, Akin’s intertwining narratives bridge the gaps between these nations and their cultures.

Now showing here.

Brought to the screen before by Chabrol, the devilishly adept genre filmmaker François Ozon adapts crime novelist Ruth Rendell in this stylish erotic thriller. Starring Romain Duris, The New Girlfriend is a complex melodrama with a pulp double-plot that elegantly interrogates gender roles

Now showing here.