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The controversies of Cannes.

The controversies of Cannes. (photo)

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If you’ve been following the news lately, you may have noticed that the world’s been going to hell at a slightly faster clip than usual these last few weeks (presumably making up for time lost while all the planes in Europe were grounded) — so much so that one of the weird things about this year’s Cannes isn’t that it’s generated a few controversies, but not nearly as many as you’d expect.

The big news — still, and heartbreakingly — is the ongoing imprisonment of Iranian master Jafar Panahi. There was once a time I hoped Panahi would be recognized first and foremost as a master of urban filmmaking, a producer of films that were masterful immersions into crackling environments first and polemics second; this, alas, is becoming increasingly unlikely. He’s announced a hunger strike that concludes with “My final wish is that my remains be returned to my family, so that they may bury me in the place they choose.” This is very grim territory: J. Hoberman reports on an “unconfirmed announcement” that Panahi may be released in time to arrive for a public screening of Kiarostami’s “Certified Copy.” The reasons are shaky: Kiarostami, having publicly criticized Bahman Ghobadi and basically kept his mouth shut until recently calling for Panahi’s release, could be the only Iranian director still even vaguely on negotiating terms with the government. It takes guts to decide to return to Iran at this moment for his next film.

05192010_uncle.jpgAll the (much-deserved) attention shone on Panahi may, however, taken the spotlight slightly off the strange case of Apichatpong Weerasethakul, whose “Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives” remains the last great hope of highbrow cinephiles for this year’s competition. Known to his followers as “Joe,” it’s taken Weerasethakul four contentious years to follow up 2006’s “Syndromes And A Century,” whose Thai release was censored, leading Weerasethakul to spearhead the Free Thai Cinema Movement. With Thailand in turmoil, it’s unclear whether Weerasethakul will be able to attend, though an unknown Twitter is now claiming he will. The stakes are lower, but still high.

Weerasethakul doesn’t make overtly political protest films (unlike Panahi), and he’s unlikely to see jail time. But the absence of both filmmakers, even potentially (Panahi was invited to be on the jury — his empty chair is a pointed reproof) adds to a sense of looming political menace and gloom — along with Godard’s cryptic absence due to “problems of a Greek type”. Not to mention “Draquila: Italy Trembles” — an anti-Berlusconi film that led Italy’s culture minister to boycott the fest — and Rachid Bouchareb’s “Outside the Law,” a film about post-war Algerian refugees in Paris denounced by government ministers as “an insult to France.” It’s punchy and grim out there. Who says Cannes has nothing to do with the real world?

[Photos: “Certified Copy,” MK2 Productions, 2010; “Uncle Boonmee Who Can Remember His Past Lives,” Kick The Machine, 2010.]

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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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