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“Six in Paris,” “Arch of Triumph”

“Six in Paris,” “Arch of Triumph” (photo)

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One of the loveliest freeform ideas to find patronage and popularity in the New Wavey 1960s was the omnibus film, a rarely cohesive but always tempting quasi-genre defined as a collection of exclusively commissioned short films. These projects usually began with a general theme but were always most interested in gathering the generation’s coolest hotshot filmmakers and encouraging them to whack off and make their special kind of havoc, but in compressed form. The aesthetics of the genre are questionable — never is the entirety of an omnibus very satisfying — but its smash-up ranginess of conflicting styles and potpourri perspectives make the movies irresistible. (Favorites of any connoisseur would include 1962’s “The Seven Deadly Sins,” 1963’s “RoGoPaG,” and 1969’s “Love and Anger,” all of which feature the era’s most promiscuous omnibus-er, Jean-Luc Godard.) They’re still being made: the Korean New Wave collection “If You Were Me” (2003) is a knockout, as are the unsettling pan-Asian horror mix, “Three… Extremes” (2004), and the international “Ten Minutes Older” pair of collages from 2002. (We will not waste screen space on 2002’s “11’09″01 — September 11.”) In fact, one of the more popular recent examples, the swoony Parisian neighborhood safari “Paris je t’aime” (2006), was in concept a remake of one of the omnibus film’s pioneering launches, 1965’s “Paris vu par…” (“Six in Paris”), except with three times as many directors and with films one-third the length.

The original film was a classic, hit-the-streets New Wave experiment for producer Barbet Schroeder — six filmmakers, six arrondissements, cheap 16mm cameras, non-pro actors: go. A romantic mistaken-identity dalliance from scholar-semi-New Waver Jean Douchet (“Saint-Germain-des-Prés”) is forgettable, but that’s followed by “Gare du Nord,” Jean Rouch’s survey of a fraying marriage, performed handheld and in one fearless 16-minute take (what impossible 16mm camera did he use?). Featuring Schroeder himself and a Christina Ricci-plus-Angelina Jolie beauty I’ve never seen before named Nadine Ballot, the short’s an O. Henry tale made electric by Rouch’s analytical perspective, especially once Ballot’s prickly wife leaves the apartment and the camera climbs into the elevator with her, the sounds of her hollering husband fading into the distance. Comedy-maker Jean-Daniel Pollet creates an amusingly procrastinative hooker-and-john scenario (“Rue Saint-Denis”), featuring his frequent lead, the astonishingly Keaton-esque Claude Melki.

10212008_archdetriomphe.jpgEric Rohmer was handed the Place de l’Etoile and the Arc de Triomphe, and so his wry perambulation takes the form of that torturous intersection, as pedestrians and cars do battle, Parisians try to ignore the tourist monument in the middle, and a lone middle-class clerk navigates an unstable urban world. Claude Chabrol wages an all-out attack on a petit bourgeois family (“La Muette”) as the mother and philandering father (played by Chabrol and his wife Stéphane Audran, not a non-pro) eat and bicker and eat some more, and their rebellious son contrives ways to subvert them and finally to shut them out altogether. And Godard chimes in with one of his least characteristic pieces (“Montparnasse-Levallois”) — the travails of a girl stuck between two lovers, both of whom are abusive louts who are farcically so obsessed with their rhyming mechanical vocations (metallurgic action sculpture, auto body work) that they cannot even acknowledge her when she begs for sex. Shot by Albert Maysles, the short looks more like “Grey Gardens” than “Pierrot le Fou.” But the coalescent upshot of “Paris vu par…” is as both a fascinating time capsule (at a moment when, according to Rohmer in the DVD’s liner notes, “Paris is being destroyed”) and a New Wave primer, prioritizing the fleeting textures of life over story, and making the real places in which characters find themselves epically vital.

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G.I. Jeez

Stomach Bugs and Prom Dates

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

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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.

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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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GIFs via Giphy

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:


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.


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!


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.


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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