For two years, I lived a ten-minute walk from Genesis in Whitechapel, an extravagantly cheap independent cinema, where I could watch the latest arthouse film for a fiver a go. Even when I moved to South London, I still made the journey across the river, unable to find the same variety of films for such a cheap price elsewhere. But now that we’re in lockdown, I’m missing my favourite cinema, with its handpicked selection of anniversary specials and themed film seasons. And although Netflix is great for binge-watching TV series, it doesn’t quite scratch the same itch. Then I remembered about Mubi.
I first subscribed to Mubi briefly last year, but unsubscribed when the demands of my dissertation ate into my free time. Here’s how it works: For a £9.99 monthly fee (£1 more than I pay for Netflix), you can stream a curated mix of recent indies like Blue Valentine and Night Moves, alongside older French New Wave classics such as The 400 Blows. Experts such as film historians and critics curate the collections of films on offer by genre, theme or director, so you can easily search for the kind of film you’re looking for. At the same time, they pluck one movie from their roster (with prior warning). Non-members can also use Mubi to rent certain films, which come at a discounted rental fee for subscribers. But only monthly paying members can access the extensive range of free movies on offer.
You can watch films on up to five devices, and on two screens simultaneously (so you can share your password with your friends), set up notifications for their ‘film of the day’, and download movies to watch offline later on. Every day after work, I’ve been treating myself to a pick from my watch list (and some bought-in-bulk vegan peanut butter cups). And while I’m still loyal to Netflix, it’s hard to imagine French auteur Celine Sciamma’s tender debut Water Lilies — which has just dropped on Mubi — coming to the site anytime soon, much less Claire Denis’s (frankly disturbing) outer-space film High Life.
My preferred movie-watching snacks
Basically like the raw version of Reese’s Pieces, they’re small but intensely peanutty.
Unpopular opinion: I can’t stand sweet popcorn, but these flavours are luckily all savoury. And they’re good for sharing, when that’s allowed again.
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