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Total retrograde amnesia in an irony-sensitive world.

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Doug Bruce plays himself.
We haven’t seen Rupert Murray‘s "Unknown White Male," a doc about his friend, Doug Bruce, a 30-something British former stockbroker who, the film details, woke up on the F train near Coney Island with no memory of who he was, but honestly, we can’t imagine the film is more interesting than the odd controversy it’s generated. Mockumentary or not? The filmmakers have cited "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" when describing "Unknown White Male," and Michel Gondry has responded by telling GQ last week that he thinks the film’s a fake.

Well, yes, you say, but since when is Gondry, wicked cool music videos aside, a medical expert?

In his reports on the scandal so far, Dan Glaister in the Guardian lists, among other things, the fact that HBO "cooled on its interest in screening the film after its initial research deemed the film to be ‘less than credible.’" Roger Ebert is inspired to carry out his own investigation, first scouring Lexis-Nexis and failing to find any reports on the original incident, then taking his questions straight to director Murray and his executive producer, Jess Search, who make a convincing argument, and would have to either be extremely committed to their hoax and fascinating ruthless to say some of the things they do:

"I would never compromise my reputation by being party to a hoax," says Jess Search. "I worked five years as commissioning editor at Channel 4 in the UK. I set up the British Documentary Film Foundation. I am the organizer of the new British documentary festival. I am 100 percent behind this film." Murray adds: "The hoax issue clouds people’s judgment. The film is so fascinating as a story of memory and identity that it would be a shame if it were discounted. The publicity may be great for the film, but it’s not so great for Doug, after what he’s been through."

But oddest of all is the visit the New Yorker‘s Tad Friend pays on Bruce — Bruce, who hasn’t regained his memory back yet, and who approaches life with wide-eyed, verging-on-twee fascination:

"Since the accident, I feel a childlike—or what I imagine to be a childlike—wonder at new experiences, but also an analytical understanding," he said. "When I first held snow, it was about both the feeling of the crystals in my hand and my understanding of the molecular structure." He laughed, and toyed with the silver butterfly-wing charm around his neck, a gift from his girlfriend of nearly two years, Narelle. "And I feel very privileged to have experienced, as an adult, falling in love for the first time, the way a teen-ager probably would."

Could he possibly be real? Are we just too cynical to buy it? To be honest, we could care less about whether the film’s a fake or not from an integrity perspective — though there’s something very off-putting about the idea of this being a publicity stunt or something vaguely in the realm of performance art — but we’re fascinated by the idea that someone would counterfeit a doc on this subject. If it is a mockumentary, it’s far less an attempt at humor than the most melancholy, cinema-informed wish fulfillment: in drifting near-middle-age, one could lightly slip off one’s mental trappings and set about literally rediscovering life.

+ NEW MAN (New Yorker)
+ ‘Mockumentary’ claim over feted film (Guardian)
+ Is this documentary a fake? (
+ Is it a good doc or merely a mock? (

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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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