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The week’s critic wrangle: “The Ghosts of Cité Soleil.”

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"It ain't no Hollywood movie."
+ "The Ghosts of Cité Soleil": Danish filmmaker Asger Leth dove into what the U.N. has called the most dangerous place on earth, the titular slum in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, to make this doc, which centers on two brothers, gangleaders and would-be hip-hop artists. The film "is only barely coherent as a documentary," writes Owen Gleiberman at Entertainment Weekly, "but then, I’m not sure I’d even use that word to describe it. It’s closer to a bulletin: nerve-shattered fragments from the edge." These sentiments are echoed by J. Hoberman at the Village Voice, who wonders at the access given the filmmaker: "One citizen of Cité Soleil stares dispassionately into the lens and
tells the filmmaker, ‘I feel like killing you to take the camera.’ It’s
not difficult to believe he would. Every documentary has its own
process; in this case, that backstory might overwhelm the film."

At the New York Times, A.O. Scott feels that Leth "seems to have been seduced" by his subjects: "In spite of occasional gestures in the direction of political or sociological context — interviews with anti-Aristide activists, news images of battles beyond Cité Soleil — he is not, in the end, much concerned with offering an analysis of the Haitian situation. Like Lele, he’d rather have a party with the thugs." On a similar note, Andrew O’Hehir at Salon notes that the film  "has already been attacked (mostly from the left) for its nihilism, with one Haitian-exile site describing it as ‘a stylized, decontextualized, postmodern, sexy/violent piece of propaganda.’" He finds that Leth "suggests that Haitian politics — perhaps all politics, period — always boils down to brutal, territorial gangsterism, and that in this respect Aristide was no better or worse than his enemies."

At indieWIRE, Nick Pinkerton notes that the films’ visual stylings sometimes seems to need only "a few cutaways to Akon to be ready for MTV consumption," but finds that "The almost complete eschewal of social and political contextualization aside, there are occasions when the film comes through on the level of pure visceral experience – as a portrait of jumbled, sordid life in the lower depths wracked by cataracts of senseless violence, a human hell to recall Stephen Crane’s slum stories."

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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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