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Just like Pagliacci did.

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Don't touch.
In the New York Times, Dennis Lim writes about his pilgrimage to London to see the unheard-of two-day screening of a "cinephile’s holy grail" — Jacques Rivette‘s 12 1/2-hour "Out 1: Noli Me Tangere."

So just how rare is the original "Out 1"? The National Film Theater program claimed it had been "unseen since its one and only screening in Le Havre." David Thomson, in his Biographical Dictionary of Film, notes that it was "never shown properly without mechanical breakdown." The critic Jonathan Rosenbaum reported a sighting at the 1989 Rotterdam Film Festival, where 45 minutes of its soundtrack was missing. Mr. Rosenbaum said that Mr. Rivette cut 10 minutes from the film after Rotterdam. That 750-minute version quietly surfaced at a few European festivals and on French cable television, then disappeared again.

Lim is rapturous in describing the film — though of course, part of the thrill must come from the singularity of the occasion…the phantom film! People traveling from far-off places to see it!

"Out 1: Noli Me Tangere" will make its US debut at the Museum of the Moving Image’s Rivette retrospective in November. Meanwhile, we, sitting in a near-packed theater on the passing damp Friday at a screening of "Army of Shadows," had to wonder about the power of the appeal of the rarity. Like any good cinephile, we take our Melville stylish and fatalistic, but doubt that "Army of Shadows" would have garnered such beatific reviews and an extended run at Film Forum if it had actually first been released back in 1969, rather than making the triumphant arthouse rounds today as the "great, forgetten Melville masterpiece." There’s something suffocating in its tone — Melville applying his sense of morose cool to an already inherently grim subject makes for something almost unbearably cruel. His austere Resistance members scrabble away against the walls of the occupation and achieve nothing except betrayals and death; their main cause seems to be the mere continued existence of their operation, and the overwhelming sense of futility that builds throughout the film dwarfs the suspense of the scattered, small-scale setpieces.

In his piece on bootleg rarity DVDs at Slate, John DeFore dredges up (or, actually, fails to) the holy grail of anyone with a sense of cinematic kitsch: "the legendary Jerry Lewis-meets-the-Holocaust title ‘The Day the Clown Cried,’" in which Lewis plays Helmut Doork, a Nazi clown who leads children into the gas chamber. In an age where fewer things are genuinely out of reach (the Criterion "Salò" may be out of print, but dozens of bootleg copies — and the occasional legit one — are a mere eBay search away), "The Day the Clown Cried" doesn’t seem to turn up anywhere. It just lurks there in the popular consciousness, a myth of terrible taste.

At Looker, a sharp-eyed Lawrence Levi spots a gem in the June issue of Harper’s, which offers up unsigned clips of letters written in support of Jack Abramoff to Judge Paul Huck of Federal District Court in Miami:

One of the excerpts, appearing just below one asserting that "the Abramoffs held up their share of the car-pool duties," stated:

    Jack made every effort possible to secure funding for a film entitled The Day the Clown Cried, a movie about the importance of taking care of children, set in a WWII concentration camp.

Levi traces the letter to a Michael Barclay, "who fifteen years ago was president of a short-lived independent production company called Rainbow Ridge Films," and gives him a call. It’s solid gold.

Incidentally, in the Slate article DeFore mentions "Lost & Found Video Night #6," part of a series of collections of the sort of video oddities that, as he admits, were practically what YouTube and similar sites were created for. Some of the clips he mentions: Siskel and Ebert bickering while the camera runs and they try to shoot a promo; a drug-addled James Brown interview; and for the true sadists, those outtakes of an apparently smashed Orson Welles at a Paul Masson commercial shoot: "uaaaaAAAAAAaaaaaaahhhthe French champagne…"

+ An Elusive All-Day Film and the Bug-Eyed Few Who Have Seen It (NY Times)
+ Bootleg Movies (Slate)
+ The Clown, Still Crying (Looker)

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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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