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NYFF: “L’Enfant.”

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Déborah François and Jérémie RenierA superb bit of social realism, the Dardennes brother‘s "L’Enfant (The Child)" is, in a quiet way, near flawless filmmaking. The film, which hardly needs more praise, having been graced with the Palme d’Or at Cannes this year, opens with a young girl out on the street holding a baby. She goes up to an apartment (hers) only to find it sublet out to strangers who won’t let her in — from her reaction, this isn’t anything new. She wanders through the city until she finds the baby’s father, Bruno (Jérémie Renier), sparing for change. He hadn’t called or come to visit her when she was in the hospital, but she doesn’t mind — she’s happy to see him

Bruno, a charismatic hustler, makes a carefree living begging and fencing goods he and his young protégés have stolen. He’s impulsive and charming, spending cash freely as he gets it, and we see, when he splurges on a convertible for a day and takes her out driving in it, why the girl, Sonia (in an excellent performance by newcomer Déborah François), is so drawn to him despite his unreliability. The two are like children themselves, giggling and chasing each other around, but we soon see exactly how unfit a parent Bruno is — while Sonia waits in line for unemployment, Bruno, on a whim, follows up on a tip about selling babies for adoption, and actually does it. He doesn’t realize what a terrible thing he’s done until he sees Sonia’s reaction, and then he flounders desperately to make everything all right again.

Set in the kind of grim, industrial part of Belgium the Dardennes are so fond of, "L’Enfant" is shot in natural light with a lot of skillful hand-held camerawork. Renier, who made his debut in the Dardennes’ 1996 film "La Promesse," is so good it’s hard to fully appreciate his performance until the film is over, where one can grasp the gradual extent of Bruno’s transformation and eventual his attempt at redemption.

All this being said, it’s hard to feel particularly excited about "L’Enfant." The Dardennes keep churning out masterpieces of subtle competence — after a while, one starts longing for them to do something grandiose and tacky, possibly based around a remake of a 70s TV show or such.

"L’Enfant" will be released in early 2006 by Sony Pictures Classics.

Click here for all the NY Film Festival reviews thus far.


Rev Up

Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.


Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.

Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…


A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.


Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.