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NYFF: “Redacted.”

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"Tell me no lies."
Brian De Palma has attempted to give us the Iraq occupation’s answer to his 1989 "Casualties of War" in "Redacted," a "fictional documentary" about the rape of a 15-year-old Iraqi girl and subsequent murder of both her and her family by US soldiers. The wounds are fresher in the case of "Redacted," which is based on the March 2006 rape and murder of Abeer Qasim Hamza al-Janabi, as well as images and characterizations based on blogs, YouTube videos and reports from the press — one might observe that we’re actually still in the process of gouging new wounds out. De Palma has already kicked up plenty of dirt with the film, which
premiered at Venice and instantly drew the ire of members of the
perma-angry right, most visibly Bill O’Reilly, who claimed it would incite presumably hitherto nonviolent young Muslim men
to blow themselves up in indie cinema-induced rage. (An O’Reilly
spokesperson later noted
that the pundit had only seen clips of the film.) Do we need a film
that portrays the troops in a negative light? Of course not. We don’t need
a film about anything; that idea that the world turns on whether or not
an event is committed to film or digital video and projected on a screen
is beyond arrogant.

What we do need are actors who can act, dialogue that makes basic concessions toward believability and some level of, you know, filmmaking, particularly in a work tromping into such a sensitive area. "The movie is an attempt to bring the reality of what is happening in Iraq to the American people," De Palma told reporters at Venice. But there are plenty of versions of that reality that have already made their way through the same arthouse theaters that De Palma’s film will — they’re called Iraq documentaries, and distributors run screaming from them because there are so many floating around the marketplace and festivals. The Iraq war is the most documented news event in history — not as freely by the American mainstream press (one of the film’s beefs) but by filmmakers, international press and the soldiers themselves. In the face of all that nonfiction footage, it seems fair to ask that a scripted film come up with something more than a maladroit array of limp "war makes monsters of us all" archetypes. Here’s the bookish one (Kel O’Neill), with glasses, reading "Appointment in Samarra." Here’s the Animal Mother clone (Patrick Carroll), from Louisiana, comparing his first kill to "guttin’ a catfish," while his sidekick, Evil Chris Farley (Daniel Stewart Sherman) gives us a millennial update of "Casualties of War"’s "what happens in the bush stays in the bush" — we’ll let you guess; it’s the ad slogan of a major American tourist destination. De Palma’s big idea is to have the film fake being a montage of footage from outsider sources, a soldier’s video diary, a French documentary, local news coverage, security cameras and web videos, but the voices are all just the filmmaker’s own, scarcely disguised. The one moment of genuine frisson comes from the film’s reenactment of taped beheading; De Palma has always known his way around gore.

We’ll give "Redacted" this — it’s been ages since we’ve felt as riled up over a film as we did shuffling out of this screening. To take on such a topic and then fumble it so badly reveals in De Palma either profound arrogance or a general contempt for the American people he’s apparently looking to inform. That the film will be prime, indefensible fodder for the next round of attacks on liberal, "out of touch" Hollywood is just the cherry on top.

"Redacted" screens October 10 at 6pm and October 11 at 9pm at Frederick P. Rose Hall. It opens November 16th in limited release from Magnolia.

+ "Redacted" (Magnolia)
+ "Redacted" (FilmLinc)

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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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WTF Films

Artfully Off

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

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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

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