Friday, June 10, 2011

Film Yap: Free Films! - Mubi

With summer upon us and everything is so expensive, it’s nice to find the free legal resources to watch great films. In the past two editions of this commentary, I’ve highlighted two websites and gave recommendations on what movies to check out. This time I’m going to recommend films I haven’t seen.

Right now is having a deal to show former Cannes films for free. The only catch is, every film can only be streamed 1000 times. There is some urgency to these picks. I’m going to highlight the ones that I think look really interesting and I’m hoping to check out in the next few weeks. (While they’re still available.)

Since I have not seen these films, it would be silly for me to write the descriptions. Instead I will provide what Mubi has said about these films and then you can see why I find them intriguing. Additional comments by me will be italicized. The titles of the films will be links to the page where you can view the movie.

The Black Beach

An exhausted militant wants to take a break from the incessant frenzy surrounding him. His country’s dictatorship is on its last legs and chaos reigns. His wife Sylvie leaves their country for France. She writes about the new democracy struggling to be born back home. His daughter Joyce must hide out in the deserted childhood home in the solitude and infinity of the Black Beach. Several adversaries – the militia of a hazy regime in his native land and the Paris police – wage a strange game of chess in which he is the pawn. Threats abound and he’s haunted by his past, his fears, dead friends. He has three allies: his wife, his daughter, and an old girlfriend from his fighting days. After our hero undergoes a fake execution, he no longer knows what awaits him. Throughout the world, people accept their lot and settle down to lives of unruliness and bloody history. Is there still room in today’s world for a man like our hero who can’t help but have his head in the clouds? –uniFrance

This sounds like it could be a little heavy handed, but I think it still has some hope.

Chicken Heart

Three down-and-out friends are long overdue for getting their lives together. Twenty-something Iwano is the “Human Punching Bag.” For two minutes at a reasonable price, stressed-out businessmen can take out their frustrations on the failed boxing champion. Struggling with other odd jobs, Iwano would like to do something with his life, but he just can’t take the initiative. Thirty-something Maru sells hats in the failing family business. In a comic career move, he starts selling hairpieces by soliciting balding men on the street. Very superstitious, Maru is hoping his luck will change with the latest charms on the market. Fifty-something Sada is a complete social drop-out. He’s fixing up an old boat to fulfill his dream of sailing around the world. He doesn’t reflect much on what life is all about, but there’s more to him than meets the eye—a heartbreaking secret he can’t even share with his best friends. The trio spend their evenings at their favorite snack stand, trying to pick up girls and falling into one nutty situation after another. It just might be time for these three heartwarming non-conformists to settle down.

This looks really amusing and funny. The “Human Punching Bag” is a clever idea.


Déficit is one day in the life of Cristobal, a twenty-something year old snob high-class guy, a hip-hop fan who studies Economics and is the son of a corrupt high rank Mexican politician. Through his character the film explores a certain strata of Mexican society and its relationship with other social classes. Under the surface of a party hides a story that touches upon the loss of innocence – the acceptance that a political status quo is gradually coming to an end in Mexico. –São Paulo International Film Festival

This film is directed by the great actor Gael García Bernal who was in Amores Perros, Y Tu Mamá También, and Letters to Juliet.

Dnipro Crocodile

Émilie benefits from a professional trip to Kiev to return to see the street where she lived as a child. But this street was knocked down and replaced by a commercial complex. A zone where roams an escort of crocodiles. –uniFrance

An escort of crocodiles? Is that what a group of crocodiles is called? Who cares, I’m in. Also it’s only 11 minutes long.

Free Jimmy

Roy Arnie has a dream. One day he will run his own circus and conquer the world. Today, however, he is a stable-hand working in the Circus Stromowski, a miserable Russian big top, run by a hopeless alcoholic fourth generation circus director, Igor Stromowski, and full of useless has-beens and tired animals, which will only perform under the influence of narcotics. Roy Arnie invites his old buddies Gaz and Odd, and their sidekick Flea, to come and work at the circus, and while work is an alien concept to Gaz and Odd, the appearance of an irate criminal who they are indebted to decides the issue. At the circus, Roy Arnie introduces the trio to the star attraction: Jimmy the elephant. Formerly a great sight, but after 20 years at the circus he has become addicted to every drug under the sun. He performs in a purple haze, counting down the days until someone realizes he will be more useful as a set of piano keys…

I love animated films that don’t look like the typical Pixar, Dreamworks, Disney fare. Also this has a voice cast that includes Woody Harrelson, Simon Pegg, Samantha Morton and David Tennant. I’m beyond sold.

Girls of Fire

A suburb housing. Two girls on the phone are looking for each other but never succeed to meet. One of them vanishes.

This is a short film that’s only 24 minutes long. It sounds creepy and I’m amused by how blunt the description is.

In the Year of the Pig

Celebrated and controversial documentary filmmaker Emile de Antonio made IN THE YEAR OF THE PIG, criticizing American involvement in the Vietnam War, during the height of its intensification in 1968. Like his other constructed documentaries, de Antonio takes newsreel and archival footage, along with existing interviews, and uses them to explore the history of Vietnam between the Second World War and the civil war that America would become involved with. Using the very words of those who escalated the conflict against them, de Antonio’s film condemns the American involvement in the war by providing disturbing footage of its terrible consequences.

This was nominated for the Best Documentary Oscar in 1970 and is one of the “1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.”

The Life of the Dead

After the attempted suicide of their adoptive brother Patrick, family members converge on the MacGillis household to mount a death-watch, amongst them cousin Bob and his hopelessly out of place girlfriend Laurence. An earlier private conversation between Christian and his sister Pascale reveals their knowledge, concealed from other family members, of Patrick’s previous suicide attempt. They begin to deliberate if they should now divulge this information to their parents who have been overcome by a sense of impotence and failure over the incident. The MacGillis children alternately disparage and flirt with Laurence, smoke pot, discuss the real motivation behind Patrick’s suicide beyond the sanitized “official” family explanation, play practical jokes, and even attempt to cope with the personal crisis of a possible unexpected pregnancy. From acclaimed director Arnaud Desplechin (Kings and Queen, A Christmas Tale).

Arnaud Desplechin is a fascinating director. Kings and Queens was an odd film with some clever ideas and A Christmas Tale was great. I’m definitely checking this one out.

Round da Way

Tony and Jose are best friends and petty crooks, but tension strikes the duo when Jose falls for the rich Clemence and wants to go straight.

This description is from IMDb since there was nothing on Mubi. Again, I like to try out independent animated films. Also the voice talents include Vincent Cassel and Diane Kruger.

A Whore and a Chick

Yelle plays Louise, a young lady lost in the middle of nowhere. At a bus stop, she meets a young man dressed up as a huge chick who pedals with difficulty on his rusty bicycle. An improbable, soft and absurd meeting, between two lost birds who are going to take a real path in life together. —uniFrance

Yep. Sold on the title. This is only 15 minutes long.

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