MUBI is continuing its partnership with New York's Film Society of Lincoln Center to present online selections from their April festival, Art of the Real, an annual showcase of boundary-pushing nonfiction films. Past collaborations with the Film Society provided online audiences access to highlights from the New York Film Festival's Projections program and their Friends with Benefits series.
We covered Art of the Real as it happened in New York, and now MUBI will exclusively be showing the following features direct from the festival:
Poet on a Business Trip (Ju Anqui, China), 24 April in the US
Originally shot back in September of 2002, this lo-fi, black-and-white adventure across China’s remote Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region is both bawdy and astute. First seen mid-coitus in Beijing, the titular scribe Shu decides to go on a “business trip”—which consists of drinking, eating, and chewing the fat with truck drivers and fellow bus passengers in seedy barbecue joints and hotels. Against inhospitable, scarcely populated plateaus and bumpy roads, his experiences yield 16 poems that sardonically capture his journey. Grand Prize winner of the 2015 Jeonju International Film Festival.
"Marvelously unusual" — Notebook
Read our interview with director Ju Anqi
Fragment 53 (Federico Lodoli, Carlo Gabriele Tribbioli, Italy/Switzerland/Liberia), 25 April in most countries
Comprising interviews with seven different men of varying rank about atrocities they committed (or ordered) during the First Liberian Civil War, this frank and frequently disturbing documentary examines the nature of modern violence and an essentialist concept of warfare. Their testimony, interspersed with snapshots of Liberia’s streets and mangrove trees as they currently exist, along with some terrifying video footage from the era, illustrate the ravages—and the inevitability—of humanity’s basest desire for conflict. Without falling into the sensationalist or simplistic, Lodoli and Tribbioli’s film is crucial viewing for our current age of extremism.
O Futebol (On Football) (Sergio Oksman, Spain), 26 April in the US
An unassuming and bitterly poignant portrayal of a father-son relationship that speaks volumes between the lines. After reconnecting in 2013 (breaking 20 years of silence), director Sergio Oksman decided to see every game of the 2014 World Cup with his father, Simão. Without falling into the realm of the therapeutic, the film shows their interactions while driving to and watching the games, bearing witness to their silences and unconscious symmetries. In addition to the odd male bonding engendered by watching sports, the film’s exquisite cinematography also offers a key to a city under soccer’s spell.
Il Solengo (Alessio Rigo de Righi, Matteo Zoppis, Italy), 27 April in the US
Winner of DocLisboa’s 2015 Best International Film Award, Alessio Rigo de Righi and Matteo Zoppis’s documentary explores the life of Mario de Marcella, a man who lived alone in a cave for over 60 years, nicknamed “Il Solengo” (the lone boar that’s been cut off from his pack). No one knows for certain why he decided to become a hermit. Still, hunters from his home village (who would occasionally encounter him in the wilderness) offer conflicting reasons about his solitude through elaborate stories. The negative space created by his absence is filled with gorgeous imagery of the Italian countryside.
"...a playful and beautifully-shot ode to the tradition of verbal storytelling and the Italian countryside..." —Notebook