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Yes. Yes! Yes?

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Simon Abkarian and Joan AllenThree interviews with Sally Potter, whose racy interracial romance in verse, "Yes," opens in New York this Friday. Laura Sinagra at the Village Voice gets a few quick quotes from her in one of those blurby things the Voice does on occasion. On her tendency to work with actresses that are generally thought of as aloof or chilly (Joan Allen is the nameless female lead of "Yes"):

I don’t really find them cool. What I find them is intelligent. You may find a certain detachment. But I find that very moving. It’s the opposite of sentimentality.

In the New York Times, Annette Grant has a longer interview with the director, in which she speaks about her film as a response to 9/11 and her writing process.

And we linked to Scott Foundas’ LA Weekly re-interview with Potter a few days ago, but it’s worth a second look. We’ve never read an interview quite like it, with a director chastising a critic for his review, and it raises some interesting questions about the nature of criticism when it comes to small films. Foundas reviewed the film for Variety at its Telluride debut at last year, and wrote what he saw as a negative review, and what others saw as a savaging. A few notable quotes from Potter:

It’s so difficult financing independent films today, and from a filmmaker’s point of view, when it takes a very long time and great difficulty to fund a film that’s risky for political, aesthetic or formal reasons — in this case, for all three — it’s a blow when the industry paper gives it a thumbs-down, because that only adds to that risk-averse climate.

She seems to be suggesting a variation on Dave Eggers’ The Believer magazine, with its manifesto about never giving bad reviews to books, because books have a hard enough time getting read these days anyway. Of course, The Believer manages this by only publishing reviews of books its writers like, while Foundas was hardly in a place to tell Variety he wasn’t going to review "Yes" because he didn’t care for it.

For us, at least, this comes down to the problem of festival coverage. If we assume Potter’s film (she hardly being one of those known to rake it in at the box office) debuted without a distributor, the idea of several publications descending on it with harsh reviews seems unfair — they would mush the film before it ever had a chance to reach theaters. Foundas’ review may have been unfairly weighted, it being one of the few and first from a major publication, but Variety is, as Potter herself points out, also a trade, read by industry types who, we’d hope, would know better than to make major decisions on a film based on one critic’s say.

It would have been different if everyone in Telluride had thought the film was no good. Then, however well-intentioned it had been, however hard the people had struggled, however long it took and that nobody got paid and everything — in a way it all would have been irrelevant, because in the end the film didn’t work. But in this case, 99 percent of the people not only thought it worked, but thought it worked brilliantly. The other 1 percent happened to have its voice in print.

That we’re less sympathetic with. Foundas was clearly just doing his job as a critic, which was to give his opinion of the film — after all, it was a review, not an attempt at gauging the crowd’s reaction, a tricky thing in itself.

We have no real point here, it’s just part of the overall "how to cover festivals" problem we muse over from time to time.

+ Yes Woman (Village Voice)
+ Verse Film Pits Love Against the Clash of Cultures (NY Times)
+ Just Say Yes (LA Weekly)

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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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

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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.

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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

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