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Cannes 08: “Waltz with Bashir.”

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05152008_waltzwithbashir.jpgFollowing up Fernando Meirelles’ dystopic “Blindness” with the animated Israeli documentary “Waltz with Bashir” made for an exceedingly dour day here at Cannes. “Bashir,” the better film, orbits a black hole in director Ari Folman’s memory that’s consumed his time in the army in the early ’80s, the point of singularity being the 1982 Sabra and Shatila massacre, in which Israeli soldiers allowed Lebanese Christian Phalangist militiamen to go into two Palestinian refugee camps, where they then slaughtered hundreds of men, women and children. Folman was there, but all he remembers is looking at the flare-illuminated ruined city while floating in the shallows off the beach, something the friend he’s sure was also there insists never happened.

The reliability of memory is one of the dominant themes of Folman’s doc, which, unlike the obvious comparison, “Chicago Ten,” is almost entirely animated — both its recreations and sit-down interviews. This doesn’t serve the present so well, as Folman talks to friends and others who served during the massacre, trying to fill in the gaps — people and gestures are off, and seem to lack substance; animating a talking head interview doesn’t bring any added dimensions to it, no matter how carefully it’s done. But the past comes in hectic blasts of heightened and sometimes surreal segments, the personal mixing with the historic and the invented — thoughts of an newly ex-girlfriend corporealize in the form of a ghost on a nighttime stakeout, a wander through the Beirut airport allows a fantasy of lively shops and flights aimed at all the capitals of the world to give way to a bombed-out reality. The sporadic weakness of the animation is easily overcome by its cinematic adventurousness, with the camera making wild tracking shots and impossible zooms through its sketched-in world. More than the monstrous events that are witnessed and that close the film in all-too-real detail, the moments of levity and jolting, out-of-place beauty are spookily resonant of the way things are perma-seared into your recollection, bright and vivid as the passing present. It’s a quiveringly good depiction of sense memory, and both a lovely and disquieting film as a whole, one that takes few of the directions you’d expect in that overcrowded field of atrocity docs.

[Photo: “Waltz with Bashir,” Bridgit Folman Film Gang, 2008]

+ “Waltz with Bashir” (
+ “Waltz with Bashir” (Official site)


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.