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Cannes remnant: “Terror’s Advocate.”

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Jacques Verges.We swore we get these last few up this week or not at all, by gum.

Jacques Vergès, a famous, infamous French lawyer, is the focus of Barbet Schroeder‘s dense documentary "Terror’s Advocate." If it didn’t summon lingering memories of Al Pacino bellowing that God is a tight-ass and a sadist, "The Devil’s Advocate" would really be a better English title. Vergès has made his name defending the seemingly indefensible, among them Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie, terrorist Carlos the Jackal, and, he’s claimed, Slobodan MiloÅ¡ević. Schroeder seems to harbor an unflattering opinion of Vergès, though the film is no an easy hatchet job. Schroeder once let Idi Amin damn himself by "directing" his own documentary self-portrait. Here, Vergès, dapper and cigar-smoking, is also a cheery and willing participant, but while Schroeder traces his life through warrens of high-profile courtroom trials, international terrorist incidences and moral relativism, Vergès remains an elusive and unplumbable figure.

Vergès went from being an anticolonialist student activist to being the young lawyer sent to defend Djamila Bouhired, a member of the Algerian National Liberation Front. Using what would become his signature "rupture defense," in which he attacks the very social structures supporting the trial, together with an international media campaign, he freed her and later married her and, still later, left her to vanish off the grid from 1970-78. His whereabouts
during the time are still unknown, though the most popular theory is
that he was advising Pol Pot in Cambodia. He’s twinkly-eyed and dissembling about it all, even as he goes on to described wooing later client Magdalena Kopp, the wife of terrorist Carlos the Jackal, by smuggling Armagnac into prison to pour on her holiday treat, ice cream.

Vergès is almost a fantastical figure, a besuited legal representative who seems to have stepped out of the chaotic multinational ether on behalf of terrorists and ousted dictators the world over. At times he seems to be motivated by righteous belief in the cause he represents, other times by the attention or the sheer challenge. His slightly demonic cast is abetted by the fact that he’s been connected to so many major figures in the last four decades of international unrest that "Terror’s Advocate" actually dissolves under its own weight. To give context to Vergès’ life to date, the film races through reams of background delivered by a variety of talking heads. At almost 2 1/2 hours, it’s at once not nearly enough and far too much — an avalanche of ill-shaped information that obliterates Schroeder’s end goals. If this is a portrait of Vergès, it’s an interesting, muddied, unsatisfying one. If it’s a Cliffs Notes of contemporary terrorism, its attempting the impossible for a feature film.

Magnolia Pictures will release "Terror’s Advocate" in the US.

+ "Terror’s Advocate" (Official site)
+ "Terror’s Advocate" (

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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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