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NYAFF 2007: “Exte.”

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What lovely hair you have, you my dear.The New York Asian Film Festival starts June 22 — leading up to the festival, we’ll be publishing reviews here on the blog and eventually gathering them over at IFC News.

So, Sion Sono‘s "Exte" is a film about haunted hair extensions, but it isn’t a parody of the declining J-horror trend and its nonstop parade of droopy-locked ghost girls. With its hirsute spectral source taking a back seat to a vampishly cruel
older sister and a goofy hair fetishist, it’s not exactly a serious
endeavor either. Like Takashi Miike‘s less successful supernatural cell phone horror pastiche "One Missed Call," "Exte" keeps a straight face through a wacky set-up, and comes up with, if not quite scares, at least imaginative and impressive death-by-tress sequences, including one in which a victim gets up close and literal with the expression "being given the hairy eyeball."

Sono made a name for himself among the fanboys both here and in Japan with 2002’s "Suicide Circle" (semi-sequel "Noriko’s Dinner Table" is currently playing at the Pioneer Theater in New York), a film that used horror conventions to explore the country’s high suicide rate. "Exte" doesn’t have such social satire in mind — central character Yuko (played by Chiaki Kuriyama, best known as Gogo Yubari) is an apprentice at a salon and approaches her chosen career with all of the ganbatte spirit a plucky drama heroine can be expected to muster. The town’s police force have discovered a dead girl secreted in a shipping crate filled with hair extensions. They speculate that she was killed so that her organs could be sold on the black market, but before they can investigate further, her corpse is stolen by a morgue worker who’s enchanted by the way her hair continues growing even in death. He pawns her postmortem locks off on Yuko’s salon, and customers start finding out the hard way that they’re infused with the dead girl’s vengeful spirit.

The ghost may do all of the heavy lifting when it comes to killings, but its Yuko’s slatternly bully of a sister Kiyomi (Tsugumi) who’s the more frightening figure. Striding into Yuko’s nascent independent life unannounced to paw through her things and drop off her unfortunate, abused daughter for a few days while she goes out to party, she carries with her an implicit history of Yuko’s dismal family life. Kiyomi’s power to harm may not be otherworldly, but it’s considerable — Yuko scrambles in her wake while her salon coworkers look on, unsympathetic.

"Exte" will play at the Japan Society July 5 at 8:30pm and July 7 at 3:30pm. It has no US distribution.

+ "Exte" (
+ "Exte" (IMDb)


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.