This browser is supported only in Windows 10 and above.



Posted by on

KoyaanisqatsiAlex Ross in the New Yorker has an overview of the fine art of scoring films, by way of Lincoln Center’s Great Performers presentation of "Koyaanisqatsi" with an accompanying live performance of the score composed by Philip Glass. "Koyaanisqatsi" and its sequels "Powwaqatsi" and "Naqoyqatsi" are dialog- and plot-free, visually lush collages of nature/urban shots that have always struck smug us as the kind of pseudo-profound thing you pretend to enjoy in college because you have a crush on an activisty boy. So we felt particularly schooled when we read this:

When I saw “Koyaanisqatsi” in college, I dismissed it as a trippy, slick, MTV-ish thing, to which some well-meaning soul had attached hippie messages about the mechanization of existence and the spoliation of the planet. At Lincoln Center, I understood it as something else altogether—an awesomely dispassionate vision of the human world, beautiful and awful in equal measure.

We’re still not going to rewatch it, though.

More our style are his thoughts on the use of tonally inappropriate music, either for irony, or, better, for some more complex sense of compassion:

Stanley Kubrick’s decision to play "We’ll Meet Again" over a montage of nuclear annihilation at the end of "Dr. Strangelove" is one famous example; another is Oliver Stone’s use of Barber’s velvety "Adagio for Strings" over scenes of carnage in "Platoon." Harold Budd and Robin Guthrie, in their score for the new Gregg Araki film "Mysterious Skin," do something wholly unexpected: as a horrendous story of child abuse in a Kansas town unfolds, the music sways toward a state of irrational bliss, as if to numb the pain. Music, in these cases, doesn’t show the image as a lie; instead, it is itself the lie we tell ourselves in order to survive.

Though it blatantly rips off Terrence Malick’s use of Carl Orff‘s "Vier Stucke Fur Xylophon: Gassengauer nach Hans Neusiedler" in "Badlands," Hans Zimmer‘s "You’re So Cool" theme from "True Romance" has always been a favorite of ours this way. The opening sequence, with that lighthearted tropical motif twinkling over images of a post-apocalyptic looking Detroit dawn, has a weird resonance. It made the movie seem better than it was, as if Detroit, mid-winter, with its vagrant crowds warming their hands over trashcan fires, were reality, and the music represented Christian Slater‘s Clarence Worley’s disconnect from it. Then the arrival of Rosanna Arquette‘s ridiculous character and all the silliness that follows could be read as an immature, violent, romanticized fantasy on his part, rather than the film itself being the immature, violent, romanticized fantasy we suspect it really is.

+ Sound and Vision (New Yorker)

Watch More

The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

Posted by on

The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

Watch More

Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

Posted by on

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.

Watch More

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

Posted by on
GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

Watch More