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DID YOU READ

What’s Up In April

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By Christopher Bonet

IFC News

[Photo: Fassbinder’s “Berlin Alexanderplatz,” TeleCulture, 1983]

Fassbinder in the Collection

Apr. 2 – 22

To mark the acquisition of the remastered version of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s “Berlin Alexanderplatz” (which will also be screening, its 919 minutes spread out over four days), NYC’s MoMA presents a selection of Fassbinder films from their vast collection. The series also includes the North American premieres of two documentaries by Juliane Lorenz, director of the Rainer Werner Fassbinder Foundation, about the restoration of “Alexanderplatz.”

The 14th New York African Film Festival

Apr. 4 – 12

Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the independence of Ghana, NY’s Walter Reade Theater presents this annual film festival of titles meant to dismantle previous notions and prejudices about African society. This year’s festival includes a special feature focusing on rarely seen archival footage, ranging from colonial propaganda films to newsreels made shortly after independence.

Fares to Remember: Seven Movies for Taxi 07

In honor of the modern-day taxicab’s 100th anniversary and the upcoming “Taxi Week” in New York, the IFC Center presents a seven-film tribute to taxis in film. Films to be screened include Martin Scorsese’s iconic “Taxi Driver” (of course!), the Harold Lloyd silent comedy “Speedy,” Neil Jordan’s “Mona Lisa” and others. Films not to be screened include the Jimmy Fallon/Queen Latifah “comedy” “Taxi” and any selections from HBO’s “Taxi Cab Confessions” series.

Noir City: Film Noir at the Aero and Egyptian Theaters

Apr. 12 – May 2

Two series are presented at the Aero and Egyptian Theaters in Santa Monica and Hollywood, beginning with “Noir City: Ocean View” at the Aero, highlighting the city’s film noir history, beginning with a screening of Billy Wilder’s classic “Double Indemnity.” To the Egyptian comes a film festival pitting both classic and obscure noirs set in the cities of Los Angeles and New York, when noir was at its blackest. Each double bill offers one film set in New York and the other in LA.

Thai Takes 3: Independent Film Festival

Apr. 13 – 15

This indie film fest highlights emerging and established Thai and Thai-American filmmakers and will be held at the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens. Be sure to catch “The Unseeable,” the latest from director Wisit Sasanatieng (“Tears of the Black Tiger”), and the semi-autobiographical “The Tin Mine” from director Jira Maligool.

Sarasota Film Festival

Apr. 13 – 22

This annual film festival descends upon balmy Sarasota for the ninth year in a row, establishing this small Florida city as home to one of the fastest growing film festivals in North America. This year’s highlights include the presentation of a Humanitarian Award to actor Edward Norton, discussions with Oscar-nominated actress Marcia Gay Harden and former “Sopranos” mobster Joe Pantoliano about their new movie “Canvas,” and an international street fair following a day of screenings of films from around the world.

Recent Films by Hong Sang-soo

Apr. 16 – 21

The Brooklyn Academy of Music hosts screenings of three of Korean master Hong Sang-soo’s latest films, including 2004’s “Woman is the Future of Man,” 2005’s “Tale of Cinema” and 2006’s “Woman on the Beach.”

“Leave Her to Heaven”

Apr. 20

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science in Beverly Hills presents this rare screening of 1945’s “Leave Her to Heaven,” John M. Stahl’s nearly forgotten noir starring “Laura”‘s Gene Tierney in her only Oscar-nominated role as a dangerously jealous wife. It’s a rare chance to enjoy this film in all of its lurid Technicolor beauty.

Great to Be Nominated

Apr. 23 – May 7

This series, sponsored by Beverly Hills’ Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, features a picture from each Academy Award year that received the most nominations without winning the Best Picture award. The films of April focus on the late 1970s and include a 30th anniversary screening of “Star Wars,” a newly restored print of the Fred Zinnemann-directed “Julia,” Warren Beatty’s directorial debut “Heaven Can Wait,” and the Bob Fosse bio-musical “All That Jazz.”

9th Annual Roger Ebert’s Overlooked Film Festival

Apr. 25 – 29

Chicago Sun-Times critic, Pulitzer Prize winner and “thumbs up” creator Roger Ebert hosts this film festival based out of Champaign, IL, on a group of hand-selected critically overlooked films. This year’s festival includes screenings of the sci-fi thriller “Gattaca,” Fellini’s “La Dolce Vita” and the Ebert-penned “Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.” Ebert, still recuperating from surgery, will be there watching the film and introducing the festival.

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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.