Thank you Greg for such an amazing post! You really hit the nail on the head on so many issues.
I understand the apprehension. I’ve been a fan and member of this site for a lot longer than I’ve been affiliated with the team, and “the auteurs” was the service that excited me. But I’ve actually, beyond the initial surprise, learned to stop worrying and love (or at least optimistically accept) the new MUBI. From what I can tell, the two main concerns are that MUBI is not a good name, and that it will lead to our site being watered-down (I’ve caught the phrase “wrong sort of people” being thrown around).
As for whether or not it’s a good name, I think the fact that it doesn’t exactly mean anything does make it seem like a harsh transition from a name like the Auteurs, which carries all sorts of meaning (some of which, as Greg points out, are high contentious). It is about internationality—the Auteurs is a global site in an increasing number of languages. And it may seem meaningless now, but as Salem pointed out, that shouldn’t necessarily stop us from branding it to become synonymous with our own niche.
The fear of a watering-down effect is less cosmetic, but I can say that I see absolutely reason to think this is the case. I understand the apprehension, particularly since on a broader site like IMDb, old-school cinephilia has to find its own private corner. If it’s about looking to grow the audience, I’m personally fine with inviting people who aren’t already hardcore cinephiles to take a look at quality arthouse cinema. There are plenty of people who I’d recommend Harakiri and Divorce Italian-Style to who have no idea what an auteur is. As long as that stays our mission, I can’t imagine that many “wrong sort of people” will stick around too long in large numbers for a site whose current main feature is an Agnes Varda retrospective. From what I can tell, the purpose of MUBI, the Auteurs, and whatever name it goes by is to fill the need to watching/discussing quality arthouse cinema. And I see no reason to believe that this is changing.
Mutiny on the Mubi – “Letters like u i b m that combine to form nonsense words add confusion and is a time waster. Unless of course, in reality, those letters combine in such a way as to identify the town in Nigeria, the language in Chad or the Japanese action figure.”
Excellent! I think we lose focus if we get away from the contentious issue – for many of us anyway – this very silly acronym. I’m sorry – but that’s still the crux of the matter no matter how others are now defending this decision. Let’s face it – MUBI stinks and is no improvement on the auteurs. That is still what all this fuss it about and I think all posters should stick to the domain name issue and not get side-tracked.
If this site name was something we could all live with, none of this fuss would have occurred in the first place. I admire all the defenders of the new reality and the justifications, but really the name itself is the issue I would like addressed by Efe and the staff that chose it.
We all know this is/was a fine site, one a a kind for film discussion, but really, that name has to go.
Submitted without further comment: Slant Magazine (I’ve enjoyed their film criticism from time to time) mentions the name change.
Fantastic post, Greg X. Thanks
Can we make something special and positive out of Mubi? Efe and staff here have done wonders in creating such a great site, with its unique range of features. They know where we stand and the anger, maybe we give credit where due too and hope to reach what we want with some stroking and purring. It’s the idiocy of overpaid marketing people i’m most annoyed with. Anyway, can something good be made of Mubi? Can it be turned into a meaning we’re happy with?
A moviedome like Kubla Khan’s pleasuredome?
Moviedome: Unequalled Beautiful Imaginarium
Moviedome: Universal Bazaar of Ideas.
Moviedome: the Universal Beauty of Images.
some acronym that reflects the site’s riches? Many other combinations of letters would have been easier, but…
what’s in a name? that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. (of course we who love a rose want its name to reflect its beauty and nor do we want the rose to be less respected and so altered by hooligans who would paint it or trample it instead of nurturing it to grow and blossom). At least this site has survived some idiots before and is resilient.
or is damage to the site inevitable? We don’t want dumbing down of course, or warring camps either. We can redouble our efforts to improve the site too. I don’t care at all what anyone thinks of me being on a site called Mubi instead of Auteurs- it’s the quality of the site that matters. Can we make any influx of new users a positive thing, continue to promote international films, broadening ours and others’ horizons or will we lose what we value?
i’ve just read Greg’s post having woken up this morning feeling Efe has had a hard enough time over this and nobody’s perfect, let’s see what happens
Good stuff Greg.
I kinda like the Universal Beauty of images one there Kenji.
RLS, yes, I think separating the effect of the name Mubi has on the site from the effect it has on each person here is a good idea. The latter is an aesthetic issue that may be helped if, as Kenji suggests, the name can be moved into a different contextual meaning for us. The former part will just take time to sort itself out and may be beyond our control in any case. I also think the ideas that Apursansar had that you also mentioned about having some sort of split or separately named forum area are interesting and worth pursuing as an idea if there is any possibility of such a thing happening, but I don’t know if that would be the case.
From Greg X’s excellent post:
“As to the site becoming dumbed down due to the new name, perhaps more users who aren’t “cinephiles” will visit to see what the site is about and maybe some of those users will want to post threads about the new Sex in the City movie or something”
For me, and I suspect for a a few others, a thread about Sex and the City is no more boring than one about Kubrick or Tarantino so none of this is really worrisome. If a thread interests you on any level, post, if it doesn’t, don’t. As long as there are topics I care about, even if they are buried under a zillion Twilight threads, I will find hem and join the discussion.
If Mike’s on Mubi, it’s all gravy.
Actually, I have to admit that I’m pretty darn happy to talk about any movie provided the people discussing it are, you know, actually discussing it and not just bitching about it being popular or underrated or whatever. I don’t think the movies are the problem. I suppose certain types of films are more likely to generate less interesting discussions, which is too bad because judging from some table conversations I’ve heard and had about the show Sex and the City, there is plenty to talk about for some people, albeit in a different way than one would discuss Benning’s Ten Skies or what have you.
I would propose MUBIWOOD. After all, there already is a NOLLYWOOD in Nigeria, this would be its second cousin. The folks of Mubi should be pleased as punch to have all this added attention.
I’ve got one. I’ll be serious in this post for a change.
M – Movies
movies not only as entertainment but an art form
U – Understand
to provide means of understanding this art form via features like Notebooks; an online source of film education
B – Bond
a social networking site for cinephiles to bond
I – Interact
for those who have bonded to interact in meaningful ways like The Garage; a place for collaboration among critics, filmmakers, screenwriters, both pro and amateur
Efe, I’ll provide my banking information. You can do a direct deposit via online banking. You’re welcome.
You know when a totalitarian regime, in a third-world country. gains power, what he do first?
Changes the publicly accepted names of the streets and districts to strange and abstract ones! This new thing in auteur reminds me of that phenomenon! and I still can’t understand why.
“Actually, I have to admit that I’m pretty darn happy to talk about any movie provided the people discussing it are, you know, actually discussing it and not just bitching about it being popular or underrated or whatever. I don’t think the movies are the problem. I suppose certain types of films are more likely to generate less interesting discussions, which is too bad because judging from some table conversations I’ve heard and had about the show Sex and the City, there is plenty to talk about for some people, albeit in a different way than one would discuss Benning’s Ten Skies or what have you.”
Right, and while I have no interest in discussing Sex and the City or Eyes Wide Shut at this point (except maybe to bash each for being trash), this site, whether it’s called the auteurs or mubi, allows both of us to peacefully coexist:)
EWS just might be Kubrick’s masterpiece. But let’s be clear—I’m not going to change your mind and vice versa.
There is only one way to determine a victor in this battle, and I hereby challenge you to an arm-wrestling match to settle it once and for all.
Winner retains bragging rights. Loser defers to winner on all matters about the superiority of EWS.
Well… Do you accept?
[shakes head some more]
Did someone just compare Eyes Wide Shut to Sex in the City?
well, with Mubi in Nigeria getting so much attention now, maybe the site could change its name next to Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch
Do I have a few months to train? I have been slacking in the weightlifting routine as of late. Seriously Josh, the quality of EWS isn’t the point of my post. I’m sure you see that but I’ll just clarify it anyway. I posted a thread about Mark Rappaport a while back that has less than two pages of posts. I think Rappaport is one of the 10 greatest filmmakers ever, of those who I am familiar with. Nonetheless, most people ignored the thread because they weren’t interested in it so I don’t see why they can’t do the same with the dreaded influx of threads about banal mainstream movies everyone seems to anticipate as a result of the name change.
Also, i wouldn’t necessarily disagree about EWS being Kubricks best, I just don’t think any of his movies are very good:)
That really rolls off the tongue. Unfortunately, my tongue went with it.
Seconding the need for more Rappaport love, even if I can’t agree with Mike about EWS.
Most of Kubrick’s films aren’t that good to begin with, but EWS is particularly bad.
“Forget a movie night, have a Mubi night.”
“Mubi: We’ll hold the popcorn for you.”
“Mubi: Where cinema happens.”
“Mubi’s the name, film’s the game.”
“Are you a film lover? On Mubi there’s no telling what you’ll discover.”
The only exception to my utter lack of interest in EWS and Kubrick’s work would be if a thread was created by Josh Ryan, Drew, Greg X or some other member whose integrity I am already convinced of or a new member who wrote a post with strong reasoning beyond “it kicks ass,” otherwise, my point remains only that I ignore stuff I don’t care about and others should do the same. If we all do that the only way mubi can affect us is to make us more discerning about who we respond to. I remember way back in the day someone, possibly Josh Ryan, saying that he didn’t bother to respond to a comment until he was sure that new member was on the up and up. This advice is even more sound today.
One thing I like best about the site is having a lot of people I respect who I don’t agree with, or at least initially agree with. I have to say that Cassavetes never did anything for me at all before I came on here, no, actually I disliked his films with some degree of intensity, but reading what everyone has had to say about his films has forced me to keep thinking about his films and ways to approach his work which has caused some reevaluation and change in my thinking. I’m still not entirely on board, but I also find a lot more of value in his films than I did before and my thoughts on his work are continuing to be in flux. Which to my mind is a good thing. It’s one of the reasons when people ask me what the best film I’ve ever seen is I can honestly say I don’t know. It may turn out that a film I don’t like at the moment becomes more important than those I do.
Greg, I totally know what you mean! Its hard to hate many films when there are so many people who can beautifully disagree with you! :)
Anytime I dislike a film I come on here and talk to one of its fans and then suddenly I see value in it, even if I’m not fully convinced.
I know! And that sucks when you really want to keep hating on some of these guys, but no, you won’t let me be content in Haneke hating, y’all gotta keep bringing up things to think more about with his films. Damn you Drew!