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Norah Jones and Lars Von Trier.

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"It is as if I decided to make a film of Salinger or Updike or Dreiser."
And the international news round-up (we’re a little blurry today, so apologies for not trying very hard with this whole "organizing information" thing):

At Variety, Patrick Frater has another Wong Kar Wai update (and a truly atrocious headline) — after headed up the Cannes jury, Wong will start shooting what will presumably be the just-announced Hurricane Katrina film, his English-lingo debut, which has apparently been entitled "Blueberry Nights" and which will star singer (and Ravi Shankar-spawn) Norah Jones in her film debut.

At the New York Times, Steven Lee Meyers reports on a recent trend of Russian remakes of classics previously all but claimed, cinematically, by Hollywood:

[M]any of those involved in the wave of new films profess to have a superior understanding of the elusive Russian soul than those in the West — Hollywood worst of all — who have long plumbed the immense depth of Russian literature for cinematic inspiration.

Greta Garbo
as "Anna Karenina" (1935)? Audrey Hepburn as Natasha Rostov in "War and Peace" (1956)?

"These films had one shortcoming," said Ruben Dishdishyan, producer of the newest "Doctor Zhivago." "It is as if I decided to make a film of Salinger or Updike or Dreiser."

We’ve stared at Lars von Trier‘s latest missive, another avowal towards asceticism, for ages, but we still can’t make head or tail of it. This may be because we’re in dire need of a nap. Here, you try:

Over the last few years I have felt increasingly burdened by barren habits and expectations (my own and other people’s) and I feel the urge to tidy up.

In regards to product development this will mean more time on freer terms; i.e. projects will be allowed to undergo true development and not merely be required to meet preconceived demands. This is partly to liberate me from routine, and in particular from scriptual structures inherited from film to film.

Erik Kirschbaum in Reuters reports that "Dresden" is causing at stir at Berlin’s European Film Market. The film heads into territory most fear to tread — a German point of view of World War II — exploring whether the Allied firebombing of Dresden was a "war crime."

And over at the Japan Times, Mark Schilling reviews the film he plotzed for (and awarded a prize to) at the Tokyo International Film Festival: "a Japanese answer to ‘This Is Spinal Tap’: ‘Ski Jumping Pairs — The Road to Torino 2006.’"

+ Cannes can’t go Wong (Variety)
+ Time to Come Home, Zhivago (NY Times)
+ What, me dogmatic? (Variety)
+ New film portrays German side of Dresden bombings (Reuters)
+ A flick to slide round in the aisle too (Japan Times)

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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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