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NYFF: “Inland Empire.”

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"No more blue tomorrows."
Welcome to the David Lynch remix project. Where to even begin? With "Inland Empire," Lynch surveys his own domain, the unmistakable, weird auteurist landscape he’s carved out for himself, and in which he then proceeds to frolic (and yes, he totally frolics) for three hours with a unapologetic shrug and kick of the heels to anyone less than well-versed in his work. For those who aren’t, "Inland Empire" is a giddy joy, a swirl of actors from Lynch-works past (Laura Dern, Harry Dean Stanton, Justin Theroux, Grace Zabriskie, Naomi Watts as the voice of a rabbit), as well as themes (identity, duality, moviemaking, strange mythology) and general directorial twitches (red curtains! a possibly kidnapped son and husband! a log! industrial buzzing sounds!).

For those who are — we have no idea what to say. Even at Lynch’s most fractured, in films like "Lost Highway," there’s a sense that if you could somehow reach bottom, you’d find truth, some primal series of events that kaleidoscoped out of recognition in the telling. There’s no bottom to "Inland Empire," at least not one that we discern after one viewing. Initially, Dern plays Nikki, an actress who lands a coveted role after some time out of the spotlight (incidentally, the film also features a real life actress who seemed prime for greater stardom before dropping out of sight — Julia Ormond, wherever did you go?). She’s set to star opposite Devon (Theroux), who’s a bit of a Lothario…also, the script seems to be cursed. When it was first shot, both leads were murdered halfway through. It’s about an ill-advised romance that develops between a man and woman who are both married, and Nikki and Devon seem to be following suit until Nikki somehow becomes her character, suddenly living in a low-ceiling, carpeted house instead of her previous cavernous mansion, speaking with a halfway Southern drawl.

There’s a lot more — the Greek chorus of hookers who dance to "The Locomotion"; the integration of "Rabbits"; the brutally funny confessional monologue Dern delivers to mysterious man waiting in a room at the top of a long stairway; the whole Polish section. Rather than really cohering, the film just continues onward like some bizarro cinematic equivalent of jazz improv.

"Inland Empire" is shot on DV, which is jarring from Lynch, one of the great appreciators of the look and saturated reality of film (he told Dennis Lim in the New York Times that "Film is like a dinosaur in a tar pit. People might be sick to hear that because they love film, just like they loved magnetic tape. And I love film. I love it! It’s so beautiful…[But] I would die if I had to work like that again."). But video suits "Inland Empire," giving it a remove and a lightness that allows scenes that on film would have a ponderous semi-irony to just be funny. Playful, even. The film closes with an all-my-friends-are-here dance number that runs over the credits and is downright joyous — if it doesn’t make you grin like an idiot, then…then you probably fell asleep a while before, anyway.

It’s not for everyone, and we honestly can’t see it getting a distributor. But for the right people (and you know who you are), it will be grand.

Screens at Alice Tully Hall October 8 and 9.

+ "Inland Empire" (NYFF)

Update: According to Gregg Goldstein at the Hollywood Reporter, David Lynch will self-distribute "Inland Empire": "Lynch will work with well-known theatrical and home video partners to launch his epic fever dream of a film, retaining all rights to the low-budget project in each service deal. The partnerships will be announced within the next week."

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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.

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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…

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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.

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