“If the algorithm suggests five romantic comedies, you may not like any of them”

The MUBI platform offers auteur cinema, classic films and premieres

What would life be without platforms? Or rather, how to conceive today’s life without platforms? (read, better, as if the question were between exclamation marks). However, it is likely that the reader will corroborate a certain uniformity in the tone and style of the programming, the catalogue, of the cinema platforms and series governed, perhaps, by the majority taste and the cinema or series of an industrial type (which there’s nothing wrong with it, of course) and that they stop short at auteur cinema or the inclusion of films from peripheral sources. Well, all of this is the object of the MUBI catalog – and some other things, as he will explain in an interview with Infobae Cultura Sandra Gomez, director of MUBI Latin America–: auteur cinema, classic films; peripheral productions including beautiful tapes from Georgia or Iran; American independent film; German political denunciation short films; retrospectives of Pasolini, Almodovar, Truffaut, agnes varda and more. And also premieres. lately japanese movie drive my carwinner of the Oscar for best foreign film, and the latest production by the master David Cronenberg crimes of the future They had a few weeks of exhibition in the Lugones room of the San Martín theater before going exclusively to MUBI. And it will be released in November. The Kingdom Exodusthe series of Lars von Trier, the very. What is this cinephile UFO and why do they say they do without the algorithm, watchword of every application and platform of this era? You can read below and then watch a little movie.

"MUBI has always attended a cinema that has authors behind it, that has creators" (Sandra Gomez)
“MUBI has always attended a cinema that has authors behind it, that has creators” (Sandra Gómez)

“MUBI is a platform that has been built for 15 years and a little more: we have been active since 2007 and we have been growing,” he says. Sandra Gomez when asked about the creation of which he speaks fondly–. MUBI has been consolidating but has always had important differentiators such as serving a cinema that has authors behind it, that has creators. That is important as the core philosophy of the platform and over time we have been expanding from being a streaming platform to also doing distribution. We have started to produce in Europe. And we have a magazine since the end of the year, Notebook. It had been online for a long time but also now we have the experience on paper, the experience of having an object. So, well, it really is like covering many areas of cinema and being very attentive to what is happening on the international scene, but not only today, but to review careers, rediscover cinema from other times, from many latitudes. Something important for us is that when we serve a territory, as we have been doing since last year in Argentina, it is important for us to get involved with the local culture, enter into a dialogue with what is happening on a creative level, to have a little more films Of the territory.

“To do all this they have to have a very sophisticated algorithm!”

—(Laughs) No. Because we don’t work with an algorithm. We work by selecting the movies one by one by people and that also makes the user experience much less overwhelming. On the platforms, more time is spent searching than seeing and here it takes less time to search and more time looking than looking.

Sandra Gómez, director of MUBI Latin America
Sandra Gómez, director of MUBI Latin America

—In the early days MUBI was called Les auteurs, right? The director Xavier Dolan, who started very young winning in Cannes, said that the platform had helped him to train.

Xavier Dolan he was really one of our first users and it is a joy that filmmakers who have had outstanding careers have also been trained by MUBI or that MUBI has been a tool for inspiration and work. It has also been a discovery tool for many authors and that, well, is a source of pride for the platform.

—A more recent phenomenon with this type of platform is that some films are released in theaters before going on the platform and thus allow the cinema experience, which is different from that of streaming screens.

-The truth is that yes, and we would like to have more and more theaters available in each country because the cinematographic experience is core for us, that is, yes, we believe that they are different experiences. Different and complementary.

"For us it is important to get involved with what happens at a creative level in the territories we deal with" (Sandra Gómez, MUBI Latin America)
“For us it is important to get involved with what happens at a creative level in the territories we deal with” (Sandra Gómez, MUBI Latin America)

—But the movie theater experience and the experience of streaming your movie at home, stopping it, going to eat, using the phone is a very different thing from sitting in a dark movie theater in silence, watching a movie with more people…

-Well, that of course for us as cinephiles that we are it is also very important to preserve that experience and the films for which we have the rights to go through theaters we will always make that additional effort to find which exhibitors are open to showing our films. The case of drive my car Y crimes of the future We have been lucky that the Sala Lugones has always opened the doors for our films and we also want to continue expanding our circuit of theaters in Argentina so that more people can see the films that we are bringing. The experience was very important and it was our first experience in theaters in Argentina and it was really pleasant. We didn’t know what response there was going to be and the response was very, very positive. The performances were sold out and the public turned to the theaters and with crimes of the future we had a few more dates. We had a very important response from the public, so well, that gives us reason to think that other theaters could also join in the experience of having our films on their billboards.

"We're not so sure the algorithm works" (Sandra Gómez, director of MUBI Latin America)
“We are not so sure that the algorithm works” (Sandra Gómez, director of MUBI Latin America)

Let’s go back to the algorithm. On other platforms, what it does is see what preferences the user may have and propose similar ones to watch streaming movies or series. Wouldn’t this work on MUBI?

—Well, we’ve thought about it and what we believe is that if you see, I don’t know, a romantic comedy that you like and the algorithm suggests five more, of those five more, you may not like any of them. The peculiarities of a movie make it the one you liked. We’re not so sure the algorithm works. Because you’re suggesting a genre or you’re suggesting, I don’t know, an actor, what do I know, but we’re not so sure it works. Well, for now, the truth is, we are very convinced that the films are seen by our curators and selected and grouped. So you can have a focus of tilda swinton or a review of such a career of a specific director or maybe some films selected by some festival in the past and we do a review of that festival. In short, we are curating in some way through different guidelines and currents that we believe may be relevant and that perhaps in that way we can also hook users to watch the movies. That’s not going to be done by an algorithm and those differentiations mean that people are less looking and more looking. We try to explain very well in editorial terms in such a way that you find. We have a look at the movies apart from a synopsis, we tell why we recommend that movie so all that makes the user a little more informed and more tempted to see the movies or the selections that we have because we explain it in a way little more attractive, I think, and above all as more human and closer to the viewer.

Trailer for “The Kingdom Exodus” by Lars von Trier

-When MUBI was known, it had much less offer to see since there were 30 titles per month and one fell every day and was replaced by another. Now there is a much broader panorama and with greater permanence of the films, what is the criterion of permanence?

—In the first stage of films that lasted 30 days, it meant that every day one came in and every day a film came out. That created an imminence so you wouldn’t miss the movies. What we realized over time and with the catalog also growing is that there was a need for users to see more and to have more possibilities, so we decided to keep a movie from entering daily but the catalog to stay. We have hundreds and hundreds of films available now and the catalog of how they are expiring has more to do with the expiration of the rights, that is, when we no longer have the rights available for the films as they are coming off the billboard. The idea is also that it always feels fresh, that it always feels new, that you see new curatorships, that you see new outstanding films, so that it is not always the same and that it feels dynamic.

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“If the algorithm suggests five romantic comedies, you may not like any of them”