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NYAFF 2006: “Linda, Linda, Linda.”

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"Let's sing an endless song for this asshole of a world."
In "Linda, Linda, Linda," four high school girls in Japan pull together at the last minute to form a band to compete in the musical competition of their school’s spring festival. They decide to cover three songs by 80s pop-punk band The Blue Hearts, include the titular song, their biggest hit. They practice and practice. They perform. The end.

Ladies and gentlemen, we wept. Nobuhiro Yamashita‘s film is, in its understated, sharply observed way, one of the most joyous films about high school we’ve ever seen, one that understands that just how momentous the small-scale triumphs and dramas that make up day-to-day existence seem at that time.

Kei, Kyoko and Nozomi’s original plans for a Holly Festival performance are ruined when their guitar player, Moe, jams her finger playing basketball. Rather than give up, the fierce Kei vows to switch from keyboards to guitar and find a new vocalist. She could ask her friend Rinko, who’s played in the band with them before, but the two of them are fighting, and impulsively and as much out of spite as anything else, she asks the next person who comes along: the awkward Korean exchange student Son, who barely speaks any Japanese.

Son is lanky, shy and gawky, with no sense of social cues and a tendency to stare. She’s also totally lovable — actress Bae Du-na, of "Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance," walks off with the film. Consigned to sit in an unvisited classroom with the "Japan Korea Cultural Exchange Exhibit," Son is so thrilled to be rescued from solitude, and, more, asked to join something hip, that, listening to the songs for the first time on headphones, she inadvertently starts crying.

The girls vie for practice time in the music room with the other acts, and then sneak into the school at night and rehearse until they fall asleep on the floor. Kyoko’s got a crush on a boy in her class, but the two are too shy to say anything to each other; Son gets an unexpected confession of love from another boy in hilarious attempted Korean; and all the while the festival teems around them. The film’s unhurried pacing and naturalistic style take a while to settle into, and there’s no denying it meanders a little too much in the middle, but the payoff at the end makes it all worthwhile and more.

Former Smashing Pumpkin James Iha composed the score, but it’s the satanically catchy title song that’s really memorable — we’d suggest you preemptively download it before seeing the film, as it will lodge in your head for days.

Screens June 24 and July 1 at the ImaginAsian.

+ "Linda, Linda, Linda" (NYAFF)

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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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