Film streaming service Mubi has a reputation for working with inventive filmmakers on its ident, having previously enlisted Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn for its 2017 neon light incarnation, and artist Lucy Raven for 2018’s ident inspired by test patterns. This year has seen a collaboration with Austrian avant-garde filmmaker Peter Tscherkassky, who is known for exclusively using found film footage and who has brought that very aesthetic to the project.
Referred to by Mubi founder Efe Cakarel as a truly “unique” talent in filmmaking, Tcherkassky’s films include Outer Space and The Exquisite Corpus, and rely entirely on an arduous process of editing existing film in his darkroom. Through this process, the filmmaker invites the audience to reconsider the traditional canon of film narrative and how it’s consumed. His Mubi ident sees the brand’s word marque and icon flicker into view on strips of film negative, while the mechanical whirring of the film reel blurs into sounds of trains. A longer edit of the ident reveals these sounds come from clips of filmmaking pioneers the Lumiére Brothers’ work, which are shown by overlapping and moving the negatives across the screen.
Having known Tscherkassky for years, as well as handling the global online release of The Exquisite Corpus in 2016, Mubi founder Efe Cakarel explains it was his unusual approach that the brand wanted to bring to the new ident. “His bold and influential work creates new meaning from edited found footage film stock,” Cakarel says, and represents “a sensory and tactile view on cinema.”
“This brief, glitchy glimpse into Peter’s photographic darkroom, we believe, will set audiences up well for the wild, unconventional array of films that follow,” he continues. The ident will run before all upcoming theatrical film releases, having launched last weekend with the BFI London Film Festival Gala Screenings for _Beanpole and Bacurau.
Earlier this year, Mubi revealed a subtle brand refresh designed by Spin, which Tony Brook told us was intended to bring “elegance, sophistication and sharpness” to the service’s visual identity.
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