Broadening film viewing through MUBI
Whilst at home during lockdown two, I’ve been using my evenings to brush up on some of my cinema blind-spots. The history of cinema is vast, and no matter how much I watch, there’s always more to uncover. One of the best tools for encouraging adventurous, out-of-your-comfort-zone watching is MUBI.
MUBI is a streaming platform unlike any other and the closest thing I’ve found to a local independent cinema. It has a curated selection of films, with a new one added each day, that will only be around for 30 days. I find that this ticking clock helps me step out of the box: I could pop my blu-ray of Chungking Express in the player for the thousandth time (my particular brand of comfort food), but that other film I have wanted to see will disappear from MUBI in two days... better try that instead. In this current era of mundanity and an identical daily routine, it’s nice to have something that offers a taste of the unexpected.
Like a local indie, MUBI also offers mini-seasons for guided viewing. At the moment, they’ve got Magnificent Obsessions: The Films of Pedro Almodóvar, which is a delicious way to spend a weekend indoors. No less than ten films from Spain’s master of melodrama are in the library, including The Skin I Live In, which holds a special place in my heart, as it’s the first foreign-language film I saw in a cinema (what a choice!). What I’m really excited about though, is the platforms Spotlight on India collection. India has an incredible national cinema, one that I’ve managed to miss most of. In MUBI’s library (which thankfully, doesn’t expire after 30 days) you’ll find access to India’s greats. They’ve got the heavy hitters like Satyajit Ray’s The Chess Players alongside more contemporary crowd-pleasers like Ritesh Batra’s The Lunchbox, and those are just the sparkling gems on the surface. Step inside, and there’s an absolute treasure trove, enough to see you through the rest of the year.
MUBI has always been incredibly supportive of independent cinemas and is currently offering three months of free membership to members of Showroom’s paid loyalty scheme. So now you can support the Showroom through its closure, and still get access to the cinematic delights we’d be offering if we were open. When we do reopen, your paid membership will also get you £1 off all cinema tickets for a year.
This article first featured in the Sheffield Telegraph on Thursday 19 November 2020.