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DID YOU READ

Louis Garrel on “Love Songs”

Louis Garrel on “Love Songs” (photo)

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If it weren’t enough just being a French heartthrob and a fabulous actor, 24-year-old Louis Garrel (“The Dreamers”) comes from impressive film-biz stock: he’s the son of acclaimed auteur Philippe Garrel (the two worked together on 2005’s “Regular Lovers,” along with Louis’ César-nominated grandfather Maurice) and actress Brigitte Sy. But beyond Garrel’s blood family, the young star has already developed a creative bond at such an early stage of his career. “Love Songs” (or if you want to impress your friends, “Les Chansons d’Amour”) is his third film with French writer-director Christophe Honoré (“Ma Mère,” “Dans Paris”), a romantic if tragic, pansexual, Nouvelle Vague-inspired musical. During his recent trip to New York, I struggled to understand Garrel’s thick (and charming) Gallic accent as we discussed being a sex symbol, seducing women with song, and how he almost became a lawyer.

This is your third collaboration with Honoré. Why do you like working with him?

I don’t know. I mean, I met him on “Ma Mère,” and we were really excited during the shooting, so we wanted to make a film again. He’s really tender with actors in general. It’s fluid and simple to work with him. I don’t know. I like his tenderness, you know? For me, his movies are really sweet, and it helps me to live. I love to work with him.

When you were auditioning your singing voice for him, you had your audience turned their backs to you. How did you get over that fear when you had to sing for the filming?

It wasn’t fear — I just didn’t want to sing in a horrible way. I’m not a singer, so I reproduce a little bit what I see on television and what I listen to on the radio. I don’t have self-control, really, so I didn’t want to sing like Mariah Carey. I don’t have her voice, so I was afraid. I tried to sing simply and be self-conscious of my singing. [On the set], 80% is technique because you have to put something in your ear; you have to be good at lip-synching. At the beginning, it’s a little boring and feels a bit oppressive. It takes longer to learn how to be free and have fun.

What and where do you sing for fun? Karaoke? Do you sing in the shower?

I sing on the streets with my friends at 2:00 or 3:00 a.m. I have a memory of this moment with my friends where I’m singing on a bridge. It was funny. I don’t sing too much. When I maybe want to seduce a girl, I sing a little bit because it’s love, a love song, you know? Before the theater, people were singing on stage so it’s the first art, you know? It’s the most direct way to express emotion.

03182008_louisgarrell3.jpgAre there any sure-fire songs for seducing a woman?

I mean, Jacques Demy songs, [“The Umbrellas of Cherbourg”], are really good to seduce. The songs of those movies are really gay. Not “gay,” but gay as joy, because in French the same word that means homosexual is like joy.

They can mean the same in English, too.

Yeah? That’s funny.

Last year, Elle magazine listed you as one of the 15 sexiest men in France. How do you not let something like that go to your head?

The week after, there was an item. A girl wrote a letter about “this fucking shit, this young man. Me, I want to see 40-year-old men. This guy is too young.” I mean, it’s a joke. I turned it into a joke with my friends. I was before Jude Law. Something isn’t right.

With your family’s background, was there any chance that you wouldn’t have gotten into the arts?

I wanted to be a lawyer. I love that job, I don’t know why. I went to a tribunal. But, I mean, the job of a lawyer is really interesting; the part of the truth, of what you say, it’s really strange. Did you see the Barbet Schroeder movie, [“Terror’s Advocate”]? That guy Jacques Vergès, he’s a strange, amazing man.

Do you have any aspirations to direct, like your father?

I did one — it’s a short, about 25 minutes. I’m editing it right now, and after that, I’d like to make another one. Maybe I would like to film my friends, because I have a group of theater friends.

What’s your short about?

It’s really strange to pitch it, but it’s a guy with problems [concerning] divorce. The mother asks him to write a letter against the father. The story is when you’re an adult, men make the girls suffer, you know? When you are a child, the girls make the men suffer. It’s about a nightmare between three men, and the father causes a lot of pain to the mother.

I would also like to make a fairy tale in black and white. Maybe I’m going to call it “Little Taylor.” Little Taylor who fell in love with an actress the first time he sees her, and he starts to make a little robe — dress — for her, but she’s going to betray him for her own kind.

Presuming you’ll still want to act if you begin directing features, do you have any goals as an actor, or people you’d like to work with?

In France, I would like to worth with Patrice Chéreau, who made “Queen Margot.” I would really like to work with Almodóvar and James Gray. I love “We Own the Night.”

[Photos: “Love Songs,” IFC Films, 2007]

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Hacked In

Funny or Die Is Taking Over

FOD TV comes to IFC every Saturday night.

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We’ve been fans of Funny or Die since we first met The Landlord. That enduring love makes it more than logical, then, that IFC is totally cool with FOD hijacking the airwaves every Saturday night. Yes, that’s happening.

The appropriately titled FOD TV looks like something pulled from public access television in the nineties. Like lo-fi broken-antenna reception and warped VHS tapes. Equal parts WTF and UHF.

Get ready for characters including The Shirtless Painter, Long-Haired Businessmen, and Pigeon Man. They’re aptly named, but for a better sense of what’s in store, here’s a taste of ASMR with Kelly Whispers:

Watch FOD TV every Saturday night during IFC’s regularly scheduled movies.

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Wicked Good

See More Evil

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is on Hulu.

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Okay, so you missed the entire first season of Stan Against Evil. There’s no shame in that, per se. But here’s the thing: Season 2 is just around the corner and you don’t want to lag behind. After all, Season 1 had some critical character development, not to mention countless plot twists, and a breathless finale cliffhanger that’s been begging for resolution since last fall. It also had this:

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The good news is that you can catch up right now on Hulu. Phew. But if you aren’t streaming yet, here’s a basic primer…

Willards Mill Is Evil

Stan spent his whole career as sheriff oblivious to the fact that his town has a nasty curse. Mostly because his recently-deceased wife was secretly killing demons and keeping Stan alive.

Demons Really Want To Kill Stan

The curse on Willards Mill stipulates that damned souls must hunt and kill each and every town sheriff, or “constable.” Oh, and these demons are shockingly creative.

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They Also Want To Kill Evie

Why? Because Evie’s a sheriff too, and the curse on Willard’s Mill doesn’t have a “one at a time” clause. Bummer, Evie.

Stan and Evie Must Work Together

Beating the curse will take two, baby, but that’s easier said than done because Stan doesn’t always seem to give a damn. Damn!

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Beware of Goats

It goes without saying for anyone who’s seen the show: If you know that ancient evil wants to kill you, be wary of anything that has cloven feet.

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Season 2 Is Lurking

Scary new things are slouching towards Willards Mill. An impending darkness descending on Stan, Evie and their cohort – eviler evil, more demony demons, and whatnot. And if Stan wants to survive, he’ll have to get even Stanlier.

Stan Against Evil Season 1 is now streaming right now on Hulu.

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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.