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Carrying nations, one continent.

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"Enjoy it while you can."
At the Guardian’s Film Blog, director Alfonso Cuarón writes that he doesn’t feel the success of his film and the films of Iñárritu and Del Toro should be chalked up as a triumph for Mexican cinema because they’re not really Mexican:

What I resent, however, is the notion that the Oscars are somehow bestowing legitimacy on Mexican cinema. We don’t need this legitimacy… It is also dangerous to view us as somehow "representing Mexican cinema". Of course Alejandro, Guillermo and I are rooted in Mexico. But we are also a part of everything else as well. Children of Men is set in London, Pan’s Labyrinth in Spain, while Alejandro shot Babel in a variety of languages and in locations ranging from Japan to California to Morocco. On the one hand these can be viewed as Mexican pictures; on the other, they are films that defy the usual nationalistic criteria.

Completely fair, though the Mexican cinema label was more convenient journalistic shorthand than trend analysis, at least from what we saw. What we find more exciting is the way Cuarón and Del Toro have made uncompromisingly arty genre films — that is something we’d like to see as a trend.

At the Globe and Mail, Edward Wilkinson Latham talks to "The Lives of Others" director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck about the animus for the film, a national rise of ostalgie, "a cultish nostalgia for life behind the Iron Curtain in the former German Democratic Republic":

The more popular I saw ostalgie becoming, the more I felt it imperative to get my film made. I could ask a teenager on the street in Germany what the former GDR stood for or what it was it like to live there and they would describe it as ‘cool’ or a ‘slightly quaint place,’ unaware of the brutal control or even that it was one of few Communist systems that openly called itself a dictatorship of the proletariat.

At the Observer, Mark Kermode wonders at the portrait of England painted by these year’s Oscar nominees: "[I]s the portrait of Britain painted by this year’s strong turnout a genuine snapshot of UK film-making talent or a picture postcard of cabbages and queens?" Clearly, he’s thinking cabbage/queen.

And at the New York Times, La Manohla claims tragedy fatigue when it comes to American-produced films about tough times in Africa:

Most American films about Africa mean well, at least those without Bruce Willis, and even openly commercial studio fare like “Blood Diamond” wears its bleeding, thudding heart on its sleeve. But what, exactly, are we meant to do with all their images, I wonder? Like “The Constant Gardener” and “Catch a Fire,” two other thrillers set in Africa, “Blood Diamond” was designed to make money, not instigate change. Watching Leonardo DiCaprio share the screen with genuine handless black Africans or Ralph Fiennes’s gardener learn a lesson in postcolonial realpolitik while I munch my popcorn doesn’t rouse me to action; it stirs horror, pity, sometimes repulsion, sentiments that linger uneasily until the action starts up again to sweep away that empathy with another explosion, gunfight or rousing chase.

+ Film-makers without borders (Guardian)
+ Ostalgie: Do you miss the Stasi, too? (Globe and Mail)
+ Oscar tunnel vision prefers a regal view of Britain (Observer)
+ Africa, at the Cineplex (NY Times)

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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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