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The Hawksian woman.

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"What's in the booooox?!"
For Germaine Greer, writing in the Guardian, Lauren Bacall in her prime epitomized a "Hawksian woman," the kind of unconventionally beautiful, fearless, spunky female lead found in Howard Hawks‘ late-30s/early 40s flicks before "[t]he war was over and women were back in the bedroom and the kitchen, working on the baby boom." Greer declares her opposite to be Catherine Deneuve, physically flawless and blank, "a receptacle for every conceivable imagination."

The Hawksian woman was an idea that flourished at a time of crisis, in the depression and during the war, when the full energies of women were needed if they were to survive. After the war she was supplanted by the female eunuch, weighed down with huge hair and false eyelashes, unequal to any challenge – all things to all men and nothing to herself.

The occasions for the piece are Buñuel and Bacall retrospectives in London, so Greer doesn’t get around to addressing modern starlets and the continuing divide between, say, the Angelina Jolies and the Nicole Kidmans of the world. One could argue that the blankness she so deplores is less a function of gender these days than a certain type of film iconicity — as Dana Stevens wrote in her appreciation of Keanu Reeves at Slate last summer, "It’s Keanu’s very passivity, his unflappable Zen emptiness, that makes him a compellingly quiet and focused hero."

Also inspired by the Bacall retrospective is Ian Johns at the London Times, who studies the Bogie-Bacall dynamic on- and off-screen and cites Richard Schickel: “I think their stable family life may have even liberated him as an actor. He began to take risks at an age when other stars would have been content with a successful screen persona.”

Tim Robey at the Telegraph looks over Buñuel:

When his 17-minute Surrealist masterpiece Un chien andalou (1929), one of two collaborations with Salvador Dalí, made him the toast of Paris, he claimed to be horrified, describing it as "a desperate and impassioned call for murder". It begins, notoriously, with the slicing of a woman’s eyeball – the hand holding the razor is, of course, Buñuel’s own. That image remains cinema’s most potent affront to the whole notion of viewership, a throwing of the gauntlet that tells us no holds will be barred. We can only watch on, timid and spellbound.

+ Siren song (Guardian)
+ Here’s looking at you with fresh eyes (London Times)
+ Surrealist master whose films captured the comedy of the irrational (Telegraph)

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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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