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We’re gonna have a good time tonight.

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"Cheers to my dad..."
We’re kind of tickled that Dogme’s gone crazy, Broadway-style (but not, sadly, in full musical fashion) — the stage adaptation of Thomas Vinterberg‘s  "Festen" has been larded up with a "Love Story" alum and Jesus Chenowith for what will doubtless be, considering the lukewarm reviews it’s received, a fairly short run at the Music Box Theatre.

Still, as Ben Brantley in the New York Times points out in his review, the film "Festen" was "unconditionally and triumphantly theatrical." How do you screw that up? Clive Barnes at the NY Post, who generally likes the production, writes that

The film featured a larger hotel and a big guest list, but in this dramatization, the latter has been cut back drastically. Along with the rich patriarch himself are his wife, Else (Ali MacGraw), a couple of sons, a daughter and daughter-in-law, a granddaughter, a grandfather (of unstated provenance), plus a few friends and servants. This change of focus seems to have affected the dynamics of the drama: No longer placed against any kind of public background, it’s now strictly a family concern.

And Howard Kissel at the New York Daily News suggests that

There’s nothing wrong with "Festen" that couldn’t be solved by having it performed in Danish with English subtitles.

Then we might imagine that something really deep, along the lines of Ingmar Bergman, was going on. Hearing the script in an assortment of Anglo-Saxon accents, it’s hard to take seriously.

Why do we care? Well, we don’t really. We do not do this "theater" thing. But may we direct you one moment to the Village Voice‘s Michael Musto (!):

But my heart sank when I realized that "Festen" was adapted from that Danish movie "The Celebration," which mixed TV-movie potboiler dramatics—child abuse! interracial love! a note from the deceased!—into an overheated stew posing as avant-garde drama. Fortunately, the play is hypnotically directed and works better than the film, sustaining a nicely creepy mood, especially in the silences and eerie, faraway kiddie laughs. Critics have eviscerated ALI MACGRAW’s performance, but I thought her awkwardness worked perfectly for the part of the ever smiling, monstrous enabler. Then again, I liked Sofia Coppola in "The Godfather III."

While we like the film "Festen" a lot, we have wondered if it’s a title that, without the weight of the reveal of the whole self-important, silly and admirable "vow of chastity" behind it, would hold up as well. It was a pleasant surprise  — Look what’s coming out of Denmark! Something different! Only natural lighting! — even though it turned out to be, arguably, the only good Dogme title. But stripped of its lovely, grainy cinematic murkiness and put on stage, the storyline is clearly, as Mr. Musto so eloquently puts it, all "mixed TV-movie potboiler dramatics." We want to think that, despite acclaim for the original London product of the adaptation, there’s no way that "Festen"’s party would be as awful and compelling as it is laid out on ever-darkening film. We’re newly inspired to rewatch it — no, thank you, Ali MacGraw.

+ Festen at the Music Box Theater (Official site)
+ Haunting Memories of Daddy Dearest in ‘Festen’
(NY Times)
+ ‘Festen’ tries fresh Danish (NY Daily News)
+ La Dolce Musto (Village Voice)


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.


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…


A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.


Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.