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NYFF: “The Sun.”

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"I don't understand how such people can rule the world"Aleksandr Sokurov is best known in the US for 2002’s "Russian Ark," largely because, as you doubtless know, the whole film was done in one take. Flashy! "The Sun," which, with the exception of a notable dream sequence in which the American bombers are envisioned as winged fish, is decidedly not flashy, and thus doesn’t have a US distributor. Which is a shame — it’s an extraordinary film.

The third in Sokurov’s planned tetralogy about persons in power (the first, "Moloch," was about Hitler; the second, "Taurus," about Lenin), "The Sun" focuses on Emperor Hirohito in his last days in power, shuffling around his palace in the midst of an otherwise shattered Tokyo. World War II is almost over, and Hirohito awaits the Americans with a mixture of fear and anticipation. He’s hovered around by various servants, who insists on going about business as normal — he’s still considered a direct descendant of the sun goddess Amaterasu, a belief he rather cruelly queries them about, as it’s become inarguable that there’s no divine providence on the side of the Japanese forces. We’re hesitant to say much more — Issei Ogata‘s performance is a masterpiece of inflection that unfolds so gradually it’s reductive to attempt to put it into words. What we come to understand is how totally removed from normal life Sokurov’s Hirohito is — he’s been made into an unwilling living figurehead who’s being held responsible for terrible things (Sokurov steps around the debated historical issue of the amount of responsibility Hirohito actually bore for Japan’s involvement in the war), but he’s an ineffectual character, a foolish one. The American photographers note his resemblance to Charlie Chaplin, a motif Sokurov picks up as the film goes on with bits of subdued physical comedy. By the time a battle-weary General MacArthur (Robert Dawson) summons the emperor to a meeting, we already know what he soon discovers — there is no head to the monster, no one who can pinned down as the one who started everything, no one who can answer MacArthur’s burning desire to know why. As he says, "I don’t understand how such people can rule the world"; of course, these are the people who rule the world — inevitably, and often disappointingly, human.

"The Sun" currently has no US distributor.

Click here for all the NY Film Festival reviews thus far.

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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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