MUBI Cannes Takeover: 12 Great Films You Can Catch on MUBI During the Festival

Cannes is just around the corner, and for those of us stuck at home wistfully thinking of the Croisette, there is no better place to turn than to the exceptional catalogue of past Cannes selections. MUBI have helpfully prepared a brilliant streaming lineup for their next twelve days of programming, presenting an iconic past Cannes film every day of the festival – surely enough to sate our cinematic appetites without even the need to even get up from the couch. Fantastique!

Read on to find out what our writers thought about the films included in this year’s Cannes MUBI lineup – from sadomasochistic horror, to the first movie to ever premiere in 3D at the festival, to a beloved Palme d’Or winner, there’s something here for everyone.

Continue reading “MUBI Cannes Takeover: 12 Great Films You Can Catch on MUBI During the Festival”

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Review: “Ash Is Purest White” burns bright

There is a macabre allure to the sight of an erupting volcano: the darkness, the blackened earth, the lava — thick, glowing, molten fire that transforms all it touches.

The volcano is an apt metaphor for long-term destruction and big-picture change, as sublimely embodied in Jia Zhangke’s newest film, Ash Is Purest White. The story follows Qiao (Zhao Tao) through her own trial by fire after an explosive incident leaves her to navigate romance, class, and social anxieties through a rapidly changing China.

The film opens in 2001 in the northern Chinese town of Datong. An ongoing power struggle between Datong’s exploited workforce and a faceless bourgeois serves as the backdrop for the movie’s first act. Qiao and her boyfriend Bin (Liao Fan), a small-time mob boss, have managed to carve a foothold for themselves within the crumbling local economy. He is a measured, intimidating leader of the criminal underground, she is his inquisitive and self-assured partner, and they revel in subtly flexing their power (one amusing recurring detail: Bin almost never lights his own cigarette — one lackey or another, arm outstretched, always has a lighter for available for him).

Continue reading “Review: “Ash Is Purest White” burns bright”