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DID YOU READ

Two by Von Trier and other interviews.

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"I'm sure that masochism, as well as sadism, is at the heart of all our psychologies."Despite the piercing pain that springs up in our frontal lobe when we think on the recent work of Lars von Trier, we have to hand it to the guy — he’s an irresistible interview. That fearless, imprecise grasp of the English language! That unswerving dedication to the cause of provoking…something! Unfortunately, von Trier tends not to travel, so of the two interviews that have been trotted out for the UK press in honor of "Manderlay"‘s inclusion in the London Film Festival, David Gritten‘s in the Telegraph is actually a remnant from Cannes. Still:

"Manderlay" has raised hackles in some quarters because its black characters are rather dull-witted. Several black American actors declined to join the cast; the slaves (Danny Glover being a notable exception) are mostly played by British actors, who found this characterisation funny. He shrugs: "I’m portraying black people as stupid, as I have whites in other films. I like Grace very much, but she’s stupid too."

Emma Bell in the Independent heads out to Copenhagen for a fresher interview:

"’Manderlay’ is actually based on the prologue to ‘The Story of ‘O’,’" he says. "Pauline Réage’s lover, Jean Paulhan, was a member of the French Academy of writers or whatever, and he wrote a preface to ‘The Story of ‘O” about slavery; the human lust for slavery. The story he told was about slaves who were freed by law in the Caribbean. Because they had no food or anything, they went back to the slave owner and wanted to be slaves again. The owner said, ‘No, I can’t do that or I will go to jail.’ And so they killed him. I thought this quite an interesting story. I’m sure that masochism, as well as sadism, is at the heart of all our psychologies. This story about the freed slaves – that was the inspiration for ‘Manderlay.’"

Actually, the best part of that interview is that von Trier’s producer Peter Aalbæk Jensen is running around naked in the background the whole time. Others to read: Roger Ebert talks to Bai Ling (in her own way, just as quotable as von Trier) about Fruit Chan’s "Dumplings," the expanded version of the segment that starts off Asian horror anthology "Three…Extremes," which comes out this Friday (and which we reviewed a while ago — the "Dumplings" segment is amazing and worth seeing the entire film for). Mark Caro in the Chicago Tribune chats with a very BFF-ish Jason Schwartzman and Claire Danes, while Stephen Hunter at the Washington Post is reduced to a giggling fanboy by Steve Martin.

Patrick Goldstein at the LA Times asks Jack Nicholson to revisit "The Passenger," a film that’s now 30 years old and that has been out of print for year, but that will be getting a brief theatrical re-release by Sony Pictures Classics before finally coming to DVD. And, hardly an interview, but an intriguing quote from Bill Murray we plucked off trashy WENN. Of the "Broken Flowers" premiere:

"I had been told that if they don’t like what they see, the room is not just freezing, but downright nasty. Jim [Jarmusch] said that he’s presented a movie a few years before to 2,500 people in the same auditorium, and after the credits ended, there was total silence. A voice from high up above said, ‘Jim, that’s s**t.’ Then the booing started. I thought about that for every minute I sat there watching, despite the audience’s laughter."

We’re assuming "Ghost Dog"? Anyone?

Anyway, we’ve got another all-day company meeting tomorrow, so back Thursday (The IFC Blog: Updated every weekend, except when it’s not.).

+ Are you for him or against him? (Telegraph)
+ Lars von Trier: Anti-American? Me? (Independent)
+ Bai Ling: Slice, dice, smile (RogerEbert.com)
+ Oh, to be young, famous and beautiful (Chicago Tribune)
+ A Happy Feat (Washington Post)
+ Some vintage Jack (LA Times)
+ Murray Feared Premiere Mauling (WENN)

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SO EXCITED!!!

Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”

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IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?


Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!


Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.


Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 

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IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.

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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon.

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number!

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time.

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by.

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo.

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim.

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t?

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?”

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud.

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.