We’re excited to announce that MUBI is evolving for subscribers in the UK. Life is complicated, watching great movies shouldn’t be. That’s why we’re changing the way you discover the best cinema in the world. Every day we’ll curate a wonderful new film and you’ll get 30 days to enjoy it, all for just £2.99 a month. By adding a new film every day, the library will always stay fresh and exciting and fits into even the most hectic schedule. All without putting a big dent in your pocket book. Say hello to the new MUBI. Watching great cinema just got a lot simpler.
Meanwhile, for the rest of the world we’ve launched a cinema program dedicated to Pere Portabella. This Spanish auteur has fostered some of the most emblematic films in the history of his nation’s cinema, combining a heritage of avant-garde culture with breakaway forms of language.
My personal recommendation is a film that’s emblematic of Portabella’s exciting style of hybrid filmmaking. Vampir is a feature film shot behind another feature film.That film is Jesús Franco’s cult vampire movie Count Dracula, starring Christopher Lee. Behind Franco’s film roams Portabella’s camera—what seems, initially, like documentary footage of the film shoot. Yet it immediately becomes something else entirely. Portabella flips everything about Franco’s film upside down: color becomes eerie black and white, high definition 35mm film becomes richly grainy 16mm footage, and a normal soundtrack is replaced with something entirely different, like a terrifying accompaniment to a silent horror picture.
So: real or fiction? Forty years later, many see Vampir as possibly a key film in understanding the transition in the Spanish film world from the period of the “new cinemas” (permitted by the Franco government) towards the illegal, clandestine or openly antagonistic practices against the Franco regime. And nothing seems quite so clandestine as this camera sneakily prowling around a movie star and a movie set, turning them into subjects of a different movie than intended.
And this is just one of Portabella’s incredible experiments, which include, among many others, a film that explores the music of Bach (The Silence Before Bach), three films on Joan Miró (Miró L’altre, Aidez l’Espagne, and Miró Forja), one of the most influential works of the Barcelona avant-garde (Nocturno 29), and many more. It’s an incredibly varied, exciting, and experimental (not to mention political) selection of films.
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