Directed by Josephine Decker, Shirely is a fresh take on the period drama, full of contemporary intrigue and dynamic in style. This feature is based upon the eponymous 2014 novel inspired by novelist Shirley Jackson’s real life and written by Susan Scarf Merrell.
Fred and Rose move to a small Vermont college town in pursuit of a job for Fred as an assistant professor of literature. The young couple receives an offer for free room and board from professor Stanley Hyman, as long as Rose agrees to spend time cleaning up the home and looking after his wife, acclaimed horror author Shirley Jackson. At first Fred and Rose detest the rocky household of the eccentric couple, but they eventually establish deep bonds with their counterparts, which will test the limits of their young love.
Shirley had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival where Decker won a U.S. Dramatic Special Jury Award for Auteur Filmmaking.
Shirley — July 1
WIFE OF A SPY
Set in a city in Japan’s rural countryside during the anxious and terrifying times of war, this film depicts a couple’s struggle to overcome distrust and stay faithful to their love for each other. The year is 1940 in Kobe, the night before the outbreak of World War II. Local merchant, Yusaku Fukuhara, senses that things are headed in an unsettling direction. He leaves his wife Satoko behind and travels to Manchuria. There, he coincidentally witnesses a barbarous act and is determined to bring it to light. He leaps into action. Meanwhile, Satoko is called on by her childhood friend and military policeman, Taiji Tsumori. He tells her that a woman her husband brought back from Manchuria has died. Satoko is torn by jealousy and confronts Yusaku. But when she discovers Yusaku’s true intentions, she does the unthinkable to ensure his safety and their happiness.
Wife of a Spy premiered in the main competition section of the 77th Venice International Film Festival where it won the Silver Lion for Best Director.
Wife Of A Spy – July 25
Award-winning director Kelly Reichardt (Meek’s Cutoff, Wendy and Lucy) returns with the eagerly awaited First Cow, a gripping and glorious story of friendship and petty crime on the harsh frontier of the Pacific Northwest. In 1820s Oregon, two loners team up to seek their fortune through a scheme to steal milk from the wealthy landowner’s prized Jersey cow – the first, and only, in the territory – to create delicious fried cakes for sale at the market. This sumptuous tale of male friendship, pilfered dairy and the pursuit of the American dream is a true masterpiece from one of the great modern American filmmakers. First Cow will be streaming exclusively on MUBI.
First Cow – July 9
Beloved fitness influencer Sylwia (Magdalena Koleśnik, in a star-making role) seemingly has it made: hundreds of thousands of social media followers, endorsement deals, photo spreads in magazines. But as she starts to share more and more online, the rising pressure from concerned sponsors and increasingly obsessive fans forces her to confront her deepest insecurities and the exhaustive demands of her lifestyle.
The breakout second feature from writer-director Magnus von Horn, Sweat offers an up-to-the-second, achingly relatable portrait of everyone’s need for genuine connection. Told with the pulse-pounding intensity of a thriller, this riveting drama exposes the real-life repercussions of our digital culture.
Sweat will be streaming exclusively on MUBI
Sweat – July 23
1956, CENTRAL TRAVANCORE
Opening our spotlight on upcoming Malayalam filmmaker Don Palathara is his fiction feature 1956, Central Travancore. Set in the period before the land reforms in Kerala this film tells the story of two brothers Kora and Onan who migrate from Kerala’s Kottayam district to Idukki in the 1950s. Their journey progresses through their dreams, desires, fears, fantasies and struggles. Distanced from their families and loved ones, sharing stories help them remember and appreciate their inescapable pasts and make bonds. When the real and imagined nature turn out to be larger than their will and strength could handle, they learn the harsh realities of the endeavor they have taken up.
1956 Central Travancore – July 24
Continuing our Ashish Avikunthak retrospective is his dreamily meandering adaptation of a sixth century BCE Sanskrit text about enlightenment and nirvana. This three-part feature presents a dialogue between a young man, Nachiketa, and Yama, the god of death, about what it is to die. In the first section, we follow Nachiketa through the wilderness. In the second and longest section of the film, Nachiketa encounters Yama, while the third section depicts Joshi walking towards the camera in the median of a busy Indian road.
Katho Upanishad – July 2