Dea Kulumbegashvili’s striking and acclaimed debut feature BEGINNING (2020) will be released exclusively on MUBI from 29 January. Inspired by true events, BEGINNING follows a Jehovah’s Witness as she undergoes a crisis of faith – with dramatic and devastating results. This debut feature from Georgian writer-director Dea Kulumbegashvili is an unflinching character study, with bold and meticulous compositions recalling the work of Michael Haneke, Carlos Reygadas and Chantal Akerman. Unsettling and visually arresting, Georgia’s official submission for the 2021 Academy Awards marks the arrival of a stunning new talent in world cinema.
Selected as Italy’s entry for Best International Feature Film at the 92nd Academy Awards, Marco Bellocchio’s Mafia biopic is based in the 1980’s and tells the story of Tommaso Buscetta, the first Sicilian Mafia boss who was treated by some as pentito. THE TRAITOR (2019) was chosen to compete for the Palme d’Or at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival and also won seven awards at Nastro d’Argento.
JOHN & JANE
Directed by Ashim Ahluwalia, JOHN & JANE (2005) is a fascinating look at call centers in Mumbai and at the desires, fantasies, and hardships of the people who answer your outsourced calls. The story masterfully weaves among six characters in a surreal and disturbing meditation on the pursuit of happiness, American-style, and the perils of globalisation.
CITY OF GOD
We’re thrilled to be showing CITY OF GOD (2011) from Lijo Jose Pellissery, the director of JALLIKATTU (2019), India’s official entry for the 93rd Academy Awards. The sophomore feature from Pellissery is a thriller set in Cochin and tells the story of a series of incidents that connect the lives of a Tamil laborer couple, an actress, a builder, a criminal, and the wife of a businessman.
HAM ON RYE
A dreamy piece of American Indie, HAM ON RYE (2019) from Tyler Taormina debuted to great acclaim at last year’s Locarno Film Festival. Following a group of girls at the end of high school, it puts a stylish and subversive spin on the coming-of-age genre.
MUBI is thrilled to present the world premiere of English artist filmmaker John Smith’s CITADEL (2020): a short film made during lockdown, combining images of London’s skyline with extracts from Boris Johnson’s speeches, using the city’s architecture to comment on the opposition between economic interests and individual experiences.
BHUVAN SHOME (1969) is the debut film of Mrinal Sen, one of the leading filmmakers of India’s Parallel Cinema wave, that also marked the first ever big screen outing of Amitabh Bachchan as the narrator of the film. Starring Utpal Dutt and Suhasini Mulay in the lead roles, this drama tells the story of the isolated life of Bhuvan Shome, a lonely widower, a proud old man and a strict disciplinarian.
In 2021, MUBI will continue it’s New Year’s tradition and renew the annual engagement with FIRST FILMS FIRST, a special look at acclaimed filmmakers’ first features, starting off the year with the films that marked the start of their careers. This year, the platform will showcase Lina Wertmüller’s THE BASILISKS (1963) in a brand new restoration, Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s THE SMALL TOWN (1997), Angela Schanelec’s MY SISTER’S GOOD FORTUNE (1995), Denis Villeneuve’s AUGUST 32ND ON EARTH (1998), and Mia Hansen-Løve’s ALL IS FORGIVEN (2007).