I recently joined the movie streaming service Mubi, which I highly recommend 1. Mubi is distinct in that it is curated; any film is only availible for a period of 30 days, with a new title added and another removed daily. I watch a lot of stuff, but like many I usually default to a predictable algorithm of watching. With Mubi, it’s a multifarious grab bag; some of the films I’ve seen so far I love like Hong Sangsoo’s The Day He Arrives (2011), while others I dislike, like Butter on the Latch. (2013), directed by Josephine Decker. Thumbs up or thumbs down, though, the fact that the movies on Mubi are selected by someone with an intellectual agenda means that, whatever the viewing is, it will still stir opinions and summon reactions.
Mubi also tends to show several films by a specific filmmaker in any given cycle. This allows one to really get a sense of someone’s work, and also see some things that even if you are aware of such-and-such a person, you probably don’t know that obscure film in their back catalogue. Recently Mubi streamed a number of films by documentarian Kazuo Hara who is perhaps best known for The Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On (1987). I’d seen the film some years before and having no idea what it was about was completely captivated. If you think you might check it out yourself, I’d recommend going in blind, but be forewarned Hara is not for the faint of heart.
During his career, Hara has only made a handful of films, Mubi streaming most of these, and one being Goodbye CP / Sayonara CP (1972), a film about adults living with cerebral palsy in Japan in the early ’70s. The film is dated, and not without its problems, but Hara pulls no punches, and love it or hate it, it is affecting.