Specialist streaming service Mubi has teamed up with fashion label Prada’s Fondazione Prada foundation on “Perfect Failures,” a curated selection of movies deemed to have been “widely misunderstood” upon their release.
The joint project will launch on both the Mubi platform and the Fondazione Prada’s website on April 5 with U.S. director Richard Kelly’s 2006 flop “Southland Tales” (pictured) which Variety at the time called “A pretentious, overreaching, fatally unfocused fantasy about American fascism, radical rebellion, nuclear terrorism and apocalypse” in its Cannes festival review.
The overall selection will also include “A Countess from Hong Kong” (1967) by Charlie Chaplin; “Fedora,” (1978) by Billy Wilder; Kelly Reichardt’s “Night Moves (2013); “Un divan à New York” (A Couch in New York), (1996) by Chantal Akerman; and Paul Verhoeven’s “Showgirls” (1995).
The idea is to bring to the fore box office flops, critical disappointments, “shocking divergences from a beloved artist” or pics burdened with production woes, as well as films “ahead of (or ingeniously behind)” their time, Mubi and Prada said in a joint statement.
“Fondazione Prada film programmer Luigi Alberto Cippini were brainstorming about about what we should be programming and it was Luigi who said: let’s just show bad films!,” Mubi CEO Efe Cakarel laughingly told Variety, adding: “But bad films by great directors!”
They both fell in love with the idea “and then the concept evolved to films that are perceived as bad films, but really are not,” he noted.
Fondazione Prada Head of Programming Chiara Costa, speaking from Milan which has been hard hit by the coronavirus crisis, pointed out that during this time of pandemic “the theme of failure takes on a totally different meaning.”
“Works that were conceived in a certain situation, under different circumstances can be seen in another way,” she said.
The purpose of the project is to prove that a movie’s original reception is not the final word on its true value,” given that “a completely changed cultural context,” and “a wider critical distance between the spectator” and the expectations and buzz of that time, as the statement put it.
“Taking a fresh look at or discovering for the first time, films that marked a point of crisis or transition for established directors or experimental filmmakers, become an opportunity to question the past and current functions of cinema and to reconsider its seductive power and cultural role,” the statement noted.
The “Perfect Failures” project takes an ongoing collaboration between Mubi and Prada to the next level after they co-hosted a screening at the Prada Foundation in Milan last December of French provocateur Bertrand Bonello’s high-concept horror movie “Zombi Child” with Bonello and young French star Louise Labeque in tow.
“We wanted to show these wonderful films on the big screen at Fondazione in Milan,” Cakarel said, adding that the original concept prior to the coronavirus outbreak was for the series to be screened in cinemas as well as available on Mubi.” But now they decided for the moment to move the program entirely to Mubi and present it there together.
Prada has long had close ties with the movie world. For several years in tandem with the Venice fest’s independently-run Venice section they have been producing “The Miu Miu Women’s Tales” series of short films by women directors. But they are also stepping up cinematic activity through the foundation, an arts center set up in 2015 in an old distillery converted by star architect Rem Koolhaas which has a bar, known as Bar Luce, designed by Wes Anderson.
The collaboration with Mubi, which is available in 190 countries, will boost the international reach of Fondazione Prada’s film program which will now be able to reach “an even wider community” comprising “remote” spectators, the statement said.