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DID YOU READ

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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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…

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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.

via GIPHY

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.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…

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IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.

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IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).

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IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.

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IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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