This browser is supported only in Windows 10 and above.


Patrice Leconte on “My Best Friend”

Patrice Leconte on “My Best Friend” (photo)

Posted by on

On American shores, Patrice Leconte is known for sumptuous period films like the Oscar-nominated “Ridicule” (2004) or sophisticated, talky arthouse dramas like “Intimate Strangers” (2004). In his native France, however, the director has moved fluidly between serious fare and crowd-pleasers like his beloved 70s “Les Bronzés” vacation comedies, which he recently revisited with a third installment, “Friends Forever.” His latest film, “My Best Friend,” isn’t such a change of pace, then — the lighthearted comedy finds gratingly self-centered Parisian antiques dealer François (Daniel Auteuil) challenged by his exasperated business partner to produce a best friend by the end of the month. François accepts the bet, only to discover that not only does he not have friends, but most of his day-to-day acquaintances barely tolerate him. It’s not until he stumbles upon a cheery, trivia-loving cab driver named Bruno (Dany Boon) that he begins to comprehend what friendship actually is.

In the press notes you say that you are no longer interested in making serious films. What brought that about?

I have never taken myself very seriously, but I have always taken my work seriously. And more and more I have come to believe that it’s possible to tell profound and serious things with an appearance of lightness. Lightness is always or often considered a defect — we say this person is light or this work is light. As far as I’m concerned, I’d really like people to refer to my body of work as light. I think that would be a compliment, because the time we are living in is quite heavy. It’s weighing on us so we might as well create light works. I just prefer uplifting people rather than weighing them down.

You’ve been a proponent of films being enjoyable as well as having artistic weight. Have you ever come up against resistance to that? As you say, it can be looked down upon when a film is entertaining.

You know, a few years ago, I did have a little tug of war with the critics who said my work was light, but I don’t want to go there anymore. It’s true that having the ambition of being popular or an artist that has a wide audience appeal is a very bad position from the point of view of criticism, but I really don’t care. My sole ambition, and it is an ambitious one, is to make films that I like and that I am proud of and that fill the cinema up and that people enjoy. It’s impossible to have any more satisfying ambition than this, in my opinion.

With this film and your last two you’ve focused on the idea of two strangers meeting by chance and making a deep connection. Why does this scenario hold such an appeal to you?

I don’t do it on purpose, but I do really love the notion of meeting and the word “meeting.” It’s really something that’s close to me. It’s a magical word because to be open to meeting someone and interested in them and so forth means that you’re open to the world, and that is something that is very common to all three of these films.

There’s a sense in the film that you surround yourself with a circle of acquaintances, and it becomes very difficult to break out and meet someone new. Do you see that a particular aspect of modern living?

Yes, it is a characteristic of modern life, but it’s also a characteristic of living in an urban setting. I think that more and more in this time we are living in, people are communicating with each other in all forms and possible ways, but are really falling back on themselves and in the end care only about themselves — it’s really terrible. And I think this factor of no longer having or creating basic communication in our daily activities is something that’s picking up speed and it really frightens me — it chills me. So I try to communicate ideas, emotions, notions that are simple but try to uplift towards the positive rather than the negative.

You’ve set this search for a best friend in very sophisticated urban crowd — it’s a source of the comedy that someone in this very Parisian circle is on the lookout for a best friend. One rarely talks about having a best friend as an adult.

When I was writing the script I was afraid that the notion of Paris might not work because it sort of seemed almost absurd. I was afraid, for such a realistic film as this, that François’ naiveté when he says “I am going to find a best friend in ten days” wouldn’t work. We couldn’t say that to one another — “I am going to show you my best friend in ten days” — it wouldn’t work, in the same way you can’t say “How much do you bet that I will fall in love by the end of the day?” I think it works because of Daniel Auteuil’s talent, this teetering on the limits of credibility, [in portraying] François’ as convinced that he has so many friends, that he takes this crazy bet.

In the film you play with the conventions of a romance in portraying the friendship of Bruno and François. Was that your inspiration, a platonic romance between these two men?

I have thought for a long time that friendships and love stories have a lot of common points. It’s true that their discovery of this friendship which they have between them goes through all these different emotions and does come close to feelings of love. [laughs] But I don’t think they get together.

“My Best Friend” opens in limited release on July 13th (official site).

Watch More

WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

Posted by on

Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…


IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.


IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).


IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.


IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

Watch More

Reality? Check.

Baroness For Life

Baroness von Sketch Show is available for immediate consumption.

Posted by on
GIFs via Giphy

Baroness von Sketch Show is snowballing as people have taken note of its subtle and not-so-subtle skewering of everyday life. The New York Times, W Magazine, and Vogue have heaped on the praise, but IFC had a few more probing questions…

IFC: To varying degrees, your sketches are simply scripted examples of things that actually happen. What makes real life so messed up?

Aurora: Hubris, Ego and Selfish Desires and lack of empathy.

Carolyn: That we’re trapped together in the 3rd Dimension.

Jenn: 1. Other people 2. Other people’s problems 3. Probably something I did.

IFC: A lot of people I know have watched this show and realized, “Dear god, that’s me.” or “Dear god, that’s true.” Why do people have their blinders on?

Aurora: Because most people when you’re in the middle of a situation, you don’t have the perspective to step back and see yourself because you’re caught up in the moment. That’s the job of comedians is to step back and have a self-awareness about these things, not only saying “You’re doing this,” but also, “You’re not the only one doing this.” It’s a delicate balance of making people feel uncomfortable and comforting them at the same time.


IFC: Unlike a lot of popular sketch comedy, your sketches often focus more on group dynamics vs iconic individual characters. Why do you think that is and why is it important?

Meredith: We consider the show to be more based around human dynamics, not so much characters. If anything we’re more attracted to the energy created by people interacting.

Jenn: So much of life is spent trying to work it out with other people, whether it’s at work, at home, trying to commute to work, or even on Facebook it’s pretty hard to escape the group.

IFC: Are there any comedians out there that you feel are just nailing it?

Aurora: I love Key and Peele. I know that their show is done and I’m in denial about it, but they are amazing because there were many times that I would imagine that Keegan Michael Key was in the scene while writing. If I could picture him saying it, I knew it would work. I also kind of have a crush on Jordan Peele and his performance in Big Mouth. Maya Rudolph also just makes everything amazing. Her puberty demon on Big Mouth is flawless. She did an ad for 7th generation tampons that my son, my husband and myself were singing around the house for weeks. If I could even get anything close to her career, I would be happy. I’m also back in love with Rick and Morty. I don’t know if I have a crush on Justin Roiland, I just really love Rick (maybe even more than Morty). I don’t have a crush on Jerry, the dad, but I have a crush on Chris Parnell because he’s so good at being Jerry.



IFC: If you could go back in time and cast yourselves in any sitcom, which would it be and how would it change?

Carolyn: I’d go back in time and cast us in The Partridge Family.  We’d make an excellent family band. We’d have a laugh, break into song and wear ruffled blouses with velvet jackets.  And of course travel to all our gigs on a Mondrian bus. I feel really confident about this choice.

Meredith: Electric Mayhem from The Muppet Show. It wouldn’t change, they were simply perfect, except… maybe a few more vaginas in the band.

Binge the entire first and second seasons of Baroness von Sketch Show now on and the IFC app.

Watch More

G.I. Jeez

Stomach Bugs and Prom Dates

E.Coli High is in your gut and on IFC's Comedy Crib.

Posted by on

Brothers-in-law Kevin Barker and Ben Miller have just made the mother of all Comedy Crib series, in the sense that their Comedy Crib series is a big deal and features a hot mom. Animated, funny, and full of horrible bacteria, the series juxtaposes timeless teen dilemmas and gut-busting GI infections to create a bite-sized narrative that’s both sketchy and captivating. The two sat down, possibly in the same house, to answer some questions for us about the series. Let’s dig in….


IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

BEN: Hi ummm uhh hi ok well its like umm (gets really nervous and blows it)…

KB: It’s like the Super Bowl meets the Oscars.

IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

BEN: Oh wow, she’s really cute isn’t she? I’d definitely blow that too.

KB: It’s a cartoon that is happening inside your stomach RIGHT NOW, that’s why you feel like you need to throw up.

IFC: What was the genesis of E.Coli High?

KB: I had the idea for years, and when Ben (my brother-in-law, who is a special needs teacher in Philly) began drawing hilarious comics, I recruited him to design characters, animate the series, and do some writing. I’m glad I did, because Ben rules!

BEN: Kevin told me about it in a park and I was like yeah that’s a pretty good idea, but I was just being nice. I thought it was dumb at the time.


IFC: What makes going to proms and dating moms such timeless and oddly-relatable subject matter?

BEN: Since the dawn of time everyone has had at least one friend with a hot mom. It is physically impossible to not at least make a comment about that hot mom.

KB: Who among us hasn’t dated their friend’s mom and levitated tables at a prom?

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

BEN: There’s a lot of content now. I don’t think anyone will even notice, but it’d be cool if they did.

KB: A show about talking food poisoning bacteria is basically the same as just watching the news these days TBH.

Watch E.Coli High below and discover more NYTVF selections from years past on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

Watch More