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DID YOU READ

A moment…”2046.”

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"Why can't it be like it was before?"We never seem to get to review things the way we’d like…we try to post longer reviews on the IFC News site, but it always seems the week slips away from us and other responsibilities (like putting this together for one of IFC’s new series) gobble our time. We missed writing up "2046" the way we’d planned to last week, and we can’t let it just slide by without a comment or two. So if you’ll indulge us (we’re all friends here, right?), we’d like to drop the first-person plural and the pretense that what we write reflects either the opinion of the entire Independent Film Channel or a staff of dozens aiding us in our blogging duties for a moment, and just dwell on the film. Okay? After the jump…

I turned down many tempting offers of DVD loans to first see Wong Kar-wai‘s latest in the theater. Twice, thus far. If anyone deserves to have their films seen only larger than life and, ideally, in some decrepit single-screen theater, it would be Wong.

It’s easy to imbue the film with some sense of mythology — we already know it took five years, it spanned the SARS epidemic, it premiered at Cannes before it was even finished, it features a cast of some of the most iconic Asian films stars to appear on screen. With all that in mind, it’s almost required to be a great success or an even greater failure, and I’m firmly with the first camp. "2046" is, as Michael Atkinson at the Village Voice put it, an über-work, the ultimate Wong Kar-wai film: a gloriously indulgent, visually searing ode to lost love, nostalgia and the passage of time that is just as much about a longing for the receding Hong Kong of Wong’s films, an increasingly rarefied revisited memory of glittering cheongsams, gilt mirrors and Nat King Cole that only ever really existed on celluloid. Watching it is like mainlining pure cinema, such is the heady rush of lush images and florid emotions. Tony Leung, who both is and isn’t really Chow Mo-wan from "In the Mood for Love" and the gambler at the end of "Days of Being Wild," is the film’s center, sad-eyed and handsome in a trim suit, a low-rent writer and a ladies’ man living on charm and in love with his own romantic wounds.

Of the women who past through his life, much has been made, rightly, of Zhang Ziyi‘s performance as Bai Ling, the call girl living across the hall from Chow who falls hard for him. Zhang is unbelievably good here, the incandescent axis around which the film turns — if Maggie Cheung climbing a half-lit staircase to her apartment was the central image to take from "In the Mood for Love," Zhang Ziyi preening in front of a hallway mirror on her way out is the equivalent for "2046."

Despite this, the performance that lingered in my mind the most on second viewing was Carina Lau (Tony Leung’s long-term real-life love) in a smaller role as Lulu, a fading dance-hall girl Chow encounters at the beginning of the film. He knew her well some time ago in Singapore, but she, inexplicably, seems not to remember him, even as he reels out more and more details of their time together. Later in the film, we see Lulu again, as an android, a figure in one of Chow’s sci-fi stories. She faces the camera in tears, but, as she walks down a white hallway, wipes them away and continues, smile restored. In her own way, she haunts the film as much as Maggie Cheung, who drifts, wordless, through a few sparing scenes — Chow sees her as poetically resilient, rushing headlong into tragic affairs again and again, shrugging off heartbreak. "The male lead could change, as long as she was the leading lady," he says of her as she glides off the screen to Xavier Cugat’s "Perfidia." But we see her as Chow does not, weeping in the titular hotel room in which he leaves her, a mirror image of him — fixated on the memory of a lost love to whom no one else will ever be able to live up.

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Final Countdown

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 IFC.com

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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.

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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…