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Adaptations

MUBI Special

Since its inception, cinema has dialogued with, incorporated, and even cannibalized other art forms—pre-existing texts—and the immense question of adaption has long been a foundation of film art. To explore this vast, challenging basis of storytelling, we offer this eclectic on-going series, which ranges from spry reinventions of Shakespeare on the streets of Buenos Aires to a freewheeling Portuguese adaptation of timeless Middle Eastern folk tales.

Much Ado About Nothing

Joss Whedon United States, 2012

Now Playing
10 days to watch
Adaptations

Amidst filming the The Avengers, television auteur Joss Whedon took a break and pivoted to this low-budget and ingeniously faithful Shakespeare adaptation. Shot in a mere 11 days with close-knit theater collaborators, Much Ado About Nothing is luminous in timeless Shakespearean charm and insight.

The Duchess of Langeais

Jacques Rivette France, 2007

Now Playing
23 days to watch
Adaptations

After taking Balzac in radically new directions with 1971’s conspiracy epic Out 1, Jacques Rivette returned to the author for this silken, haunting tale of romantic obsession. On the surface: a costume drama; underneath: the dark shadows of doomed love. With Jeanne Balibar and Guillaume Depardieu.

The Man from London

Béla Tarr, Ágnes Hranitzky Hungary, 2007

Coming Soon
7 days
Adaptations

After transforming two László Krasznahorkai novels into epic monuments of Eastern European art-cinema, husband-and-wife team Béla Tarr and Ágnes Hranitzky surprisingly turned to French crime novel master Georges Simenon for an unforgettable re-interpretation of film noir. Co-starring Tilda Swinton!

The Lair of the White Worm

Ken Russell United Kingdom, 1988

expired 2 days ago
Adaptations

Iconoclast Ken Russell transfers Bram Stoker’s final work to modern Scotland and ups the delirium in this delightfully smutty adaptation. Hugh Grant stars as the vampire hunter tasked with the titular coven, offsetting hijinks of camp, sleaze, and an endless array of phallic symbols. Splendid.

Anatahan

Josef von Sternberg Japan, 1953

expired 16 days ago
Adaptations

Realized from a first person account of being marooned on the Japanese island of Anatahan after WWII, Josef von Sternberg controversially recreated the disputed events with his baroque, magnetic touch. Whether truth or fiction, Anatahan offers a potent look at social power structures in microcosm.

Tape

Richard Linklater United States, 2001

Expired
Adaptations

To reimagine a stage play as cinema, inventive American auteur Richard Linklater turned to shooting on video for its dynamic, tactile possibilities. The result is the fittingly titled Tape: an electric showdown between truth, memory, and the male ego inside the single locale of a hotel room.

Cosmos

Andrzej Żuławski France, 2015

Expired
Adaptations

Next in our series devoted to ingenious adaptations is the final film by the ferocious Polish auteur Andrzej Żuławski. He transforms an almost unfilmable book by his fellow countryman Witold Gombrowicz into a clamoring melodrama of tremendous verve and surprise. Read our interview with Żuławski.

Arabian Nights: Volume 3, the Enchanted One

Miguel Gomes Portugal, 2015

Expired
Adaptations

Who would have thought austerity measures could trigger such an epic tale of tales? Gomes explores Portugal’s fractures with unmatched originality, sharpness and love—both to his country and to the act (and art) of storytelling. This is the last volume, but we certainly wish it would go on forever.

Arabian Nights: Volume 2, the Desolate One

Miguel Gomes Portugal, 2015

Expired
Adaptations

The second installment of Miguel Gomes’ magnum opus is arguably the most melancholic of the three. While the whole trilogy is a unique blend of fine irony, dark humor, blissful fantasy, and fervent commitment to the present, this middle section confirms Arabian Nights as the ultimate political film.

Arabian Nights: Volume 1, the Restless One

Miguel Gomes Portugal, 2015

Expired
Available to rent
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Adaptations

We’re kicking off a new series devoted to Adaptations and their multitude of cinematic approaches to pre-existing texts. First up is Miguel Gomes’ triptych vision of modern Portugal told with the inspiration of the timeless folk tales of Arabian Nights. An inventive masterpiece in three parts.

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