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The Last of the Geishas.

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We do not become Hollywood actresses to pursue our own destinies.Because we just cannot bear to let the damn thing go:

"Memoirs of a Geisha" opens in Japan this week. An incredulous Kaori Shoji reviews it:

It’s one thing to see the city of Kyoto misrepresented, but when we’re asked to believe that a much older Japanese businessman and a young geisha during the 1940s would engage in physical contact in broad daylight, standing under a willow tree in a Japanese garden…surely that was when the theater should have released some emergency oxygen masks from the ceiling to save us all from hyperventilating. I looked around to see if everyone else felt the same, but no. This being Japan, the audience was restrained, respectful, polite. If only the movie had some of the same qualities.

Philip Brasor reports on the Tokyo press conference:

The director probably did believe he was "clarifying for the world what a geisha is," but did he ever watch, say, Mikio Naruse‘s movies from the 1950s, when the world that Sayuri lived in was still a recent memory? In those movies, the geisha don’t engage in professional cat fights on the melodramatic scale of "All About Eve," or dedicate their entire lives to the kind of romantic ideals codified in "Pretty Woman."

Sarah Kaufman at the Washington Post also attempts to portray an unhappy Japanese reaction to the film, speaking to dancer Shizumi Manale (who herself was offered a part in the film), but the article’s a bit of a howler itself:

Shizumi picks up a corner, fondling its rose-petal softness. "You see — this is art," she says quietly. "It really is like a living thing. It’s what we call the power of kimono.

"This is what Rob Marshall does not understand."

And Jae-Ha Kim at the Chicago Tribune gathers concerns from academia and the Asian-American community about the film reinforcing stereotypes:

Because many Americans mistakenly see geishas as the Japanese equivalent of prostitutes, Ji-Yeon Yuh, for one, is afraid the film will reinforce stereotypes about Asian women as exotic, submissive and obedient sexually.

"My personal belief is it’s better to have no Asians or Asian-Americans in the movies than to have only this sort of stereotypical and demeaning role," says Yuh, the director of Asian-American Studies at Northwestern University. "What, really, is so great about being in the movies that any role–even a demeaning one–is better than no role?"

+ Welcome to Kyoto, California (Japan Times)
+ Proving it to the people (Japan Times)
+ Hollywood’s Faulty ‘Memoirs’ (Washington Post)
+ ‘Geisha’ raises fears of stereotypical movie roles (Chicago Tribune)

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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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