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The Present is Woman, The Woman is Present

MUBI Special

“Where are all the female directors?” the film world seems to be clamouring—decades late. MUBI is thrilled to present an epic series, taking over the programme during the months of March and April, celebrating women behind the camera. From avant-garde’s queen Maya Deren to Hollywood’s transgressor Kathryn Bigelow or cinema’s fairy godmother Agnès Varda, we want to honour some absolutely crucial, necessary and remarkable voices, both established and up-and-coming, that keep pushing the boundaries of representation, and reminding us one thing: “the present is woman, and the woman is present”.

Documenteur

Agnès Varda France, 1981

With masterpieces like Le Bonheur & Vagabond it’s sometimes easy to forget that La Varda is also one of the finest documentarian’s to ever grace cinema. Documenteur, a self-proclaimed “emotion film”, weaves a quiet fictional narrative with pure truth to create an engrossing portrait of a woman.

Strange Days

Kathryn Bigelow United States, 1995

Before The Hurt Locker and the realism period that followed, Kathryn Bigelow was known for darkly stylized efforts in genre, of which Strange Days stands at the fore. Uncanny political predictions, a timely original soundtrack, and perfect aesthetics altogether form a zenith of 90s American culture.

Diary for My Children

Márta Mészáros Hungary, 1984

Ildikó Enyedi is not the first outstanding female cinematic voice to come out of Hungary. We’re proud to present the pioneering, legendary Márta Mészáros with this autobiographical coming-of-age story in the Stalinist era—a superb reflection on the crossover between the personal and the historical.

Battles

Isabelle Tollenaere Belgium, 2015

A rigorously shaped essayistic journey into the culture of war, Battles carves an observational argument from closely studying the societal scars of conflict. Isabelle Tollenaere’s debut bravely interrogates the oft unnoticed grip war still has on modern life in Albania, Belgium, Russia, and Latvia.

Caramel

Nadine Labaki Lebanon, 2007

Lebanese director Nadine Labaki made quite a splash with her sensual, funny debut film, winning acclaim that began with its premiere at Cannes and only gathered more force. Labaki is one to watch: a triple threat, she wrote, directed and starred in this charming ode to female friendship.

Ishtar

Elaine May United States, 1987

A legendary flop that ended the career of its director, Elaine May’s screwball bromance has been reevaluated and reclaimed as the great, delightfully disjointed, comedy that it is. May’s few films were routinely treated poorly by their studios—but her brilliance has weathered those weak doubts.

Snow Canon

Mati Diop France, 2011

Loosely based on a short story by Stendhal, Snow Canon is as moody and unpredictable as its teen heroine, and clocking in at only 33 minutes, Diop manages to perfectly capture the inner emotional whirlwind of adolescence. Female desire is rarely explored in films with such intelligence and subtlety.

Atlantiques

Mati Diop France, 2009

Niece of the Senegalese auteur Djibril Diop Mambéty (Touki Bouki), luminous actress Mati Diop (35 Shots of Rum) has blossomed into a beautiful director, and we’re proud to bring you a double bill of her shorts. This, her atmospheric, dreamlike debut, is rich with suppressed histories and emotions.

By the Time It Gets Dark

Anocha Suwichakornpong Thailand, 2016

We continue our women series with the new film by Tiger Award-winning Anocha Suwichakornpong. A moving exploration of recent Thai history told through filmmaking, memories, and interviews, it nimbly evokes the emotional depths and complexity of living in a present deeply informed by the past.

Wasteland No. 1: Ardent, Verdant

Jodie Mack United States, 2017

We continue our epic series celebrating women behind the camera with American experimental animator Jodie Mack, one of today’s most vital filmmakers. This structuralist short is a fluttering celluloid juxtaposition of silicon landscapes and printed flowers, organic technology and artificial nature.

No Man's Land

Salomé Lamas Portugal, 2012

Last summer we featured the far-flung second film by Salomé Lamas (Eldorado XXI) and are now thrilled to introduce her confrontational debut. A documentary encounter with the presence, history, and memories of an itinerant mercenary, it is an intimate experience at once absorbing and terrifying.

My Friend From The Park

Ana Katz Argentina, 2015

You’ve probably heard of Lucrecia Martel by now, but she’s not the only female voice in Argentine cinema. We’re delighted to introduce Ana Katz, who both directs and co-stars in this witty character study—half low-key thriller, half offbeat comedy—delving into the tribulations of being a mother.

Baden Baden

Rachel Lang Belgium, 2015

We celebrate International Women’s Day with one of our favourite debuts in recent years. Unleashing a rare, infectious vitality, and with a delightful balance of comedy and tragedy, Rachel Lang has created a unisex heroine for the ages, with echoes of Frances Ha, yet ultimately irresistibly unique.

Life is too short for bad films

Every day we hand-pick a beautiful new film and you have a whole month to watch it, so there’s always 30 perfectly curated films to discover.