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MUBI vs. FilmStruck: All the best Twitter responses to the streaming feud

This last week has seen online streaming services adopt some very questionable marketing tactics. Now the future of television and film distribution seems intent on following the groundwork laid by Netflix, streaming sites like Hulu and Amazon are clamoring for the top position.

More recently, streaming services focused primarily on preserving and showcasing older, and more obscure films have thrown their hats in the ring. As well as paying $10.99 a month for your Netflix account, you can add more money to your bills and sign up to MUBI, Filmstruck, the BFI, or even Nicolas Winding Refn’s new streaming project which is promising to “resurrect” cinema.

With many of these services opting to recognize auteurs, classics, independent, and cult cinema, you can bet that each has exhibited their fair share of elitism. Twitter had a ball in the last few days after someone snapped a picture of this alienating advert for MUBI.

That’s Tarkovsky, by the way, not Tchaikovsky. You do know who Andrei Tarkovsky is, right? The Russian art director of seminal films like Stalker and The Mirror? No? What are you, an idiot?

It’s a troubling advert that points to a larger issue of elitist gatekeeping within more snobbish corners of the film community. Especially with film streaming sites purporting a desire to introduce more people to classic and cult movies they may not have seen or heard of, it’s particularly hypocritical that MUBI have deliberately excluded a number of potential subscribers.

There are very few people with the free time or temperament to regularly sit down and watch three hours of Russian art cinema, and MUBI’s marketing campaign is certainly not the way to persuade people to do so.

Twitter user @EvieSpachis has also highlighted this wall of text masquerading as an advert for the site, which, aside from being impossible to read, contains a number of pretentious gems that make movie watching sound like homework.

Rival streaming service FilmStruck has leapt on the hate train with a hilarious trash-talking response.

Pouncing on your competition in the midst of a marketing crisis is, arguably, just as low as MUBI’s elitist techniques. It’s especially strange given FilmStruck’s more amicable relationship with them, including its recent hiring of MUBI’s Quentin Carbonell as its international content director.

However, its response has encouraged a wave of free marketing, with the hashtag #EveryonesWelcomeAtFilmStruck trending for some time on Twitter. Users have taken it upon themselves to reassure the film community that mixing up your movie trivia doesn’t make you an unworthy movie fan. It’s also a chance for Twitter to flex its classic movie knowledge, while also highlighting the debts newer films have to their earlier sources of inspiration.

These tweets all feature some direct visual references more modern films have made to their older counterparts. One of the more ingenious is @biscuitkitten’s picking up on the homage Deadpool 2 makes to chronologically twisty noir films like Sunset Boulevard, which both begin with the death of their protagonist. Of course, Deadpool quickly subverts the trope by swiftly coming back to life to annoy us once more. Or it’s just a pun on “dead pool” and we’re reading way too far into things.

There were also some more nuanced responses, with the snootier corners of Twitter using the hashtag to show off their knowledge of filmic style and genre. These tweets recognize the visual motifs, costume design, and character themes for high school dramas like Heathers and Mean Girls, and workplace comedies like Office Space and The Apartment. @CSlasher27 also recognizes the tradition of wide lenses and beautiful vistas for epic films like Star Wars and Lawrence of Arabia.

Twitter also showed a surprising amount love for the nuns in Black Narcissus, an older, British film that MUBI would probably claim you’ve never heard of.

We know – a lot of these tweets are using Star Wars. But when an opportunity arises to use an easy pun, as well as acknowledge the worrying number of films that involve the removal of someone’s limbs, you go ahead and take it.

And this was just too hilarious not to include.

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