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By Matt Singer

IFC News

[Photo: “Vitus,” Sony Pictures Classics, 2007]

The movies are filled with adolescent fantasies — sometimes, particularly during the summer, it seems the movies are only adolescent fantasies — but rarely with pre-pubescent ones, particularly those that do not involve animated talking animals. The reason, I suspect, is as much biological as anything else. It is much easier to remember yourself at age 18 than at age 12. The creators of the marvelous little film “Vitus” are as in touch with this inner tween as any filmmakers have ever been. If I’m as in touch with my inner tween as they are with theirs, I think I can say that children of that age would adore this movie, if only they’d get the opportunity to see it. I regret that many will not.

The official Swiss selection for the 2006 Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award, and the winner of that country’s top cinematic prize, “Vitus” concerns a remarkably gifted young boy blessed with an incredible intellect and a preternatural ability for the piano. We first see him as a precocious six-year-old (played with a maturity beyond his years by Fabrizio Borsani), then later as that crucial 12-year old (an even better Teo Gheorghiu). Young Vitus is so smart he can’t really be taught, by teachers or by anyone else, and his parents, feeling the weight of responsibility that comes with having a “gifted” child, yank him out of school and let him concentrate on becoming a great piano virtuoso.

Vitus doesn’t dislike playing piano — who would, if they were that good at it? — but he also yearns for something resembling a normal childhood. At age 12, Vitus has surpassed his older high school classmates and his parents are pressuring him to decide what to do with the rest of his life. It is here that director Fredi M. Murer and his co-writers Peter Luisi and Lukas B. Suter begin to display their innate knowledge of childhood psychology: of those twin desires to both belong and to stand out; of the fascination with women without the accompanying physical capability to act upon it; of the desire to do all of those things you’re “not old enough” for without losing those things that make being a kid great.

“Vitus” has all of this in a package that is funny and sweet but never maudlin. Gheorghiu is not only a gifted child actor but a piano player in his own right, and the movie puts his talents to great use in several astounding sequences. Children would love his performance, along with pretty much everything else about this movie, but getting them to actually see it seems a difficult proposition. Aside from the obvious language barrier (let’s face it — even adults with reasonable attention spans complain about subtitled movies), movies like “Vitus,” European productions with arty pedigrees, get small releases and are marketed to and seen by a much older audience. Let us hope that audiences can still connect with their inner 12-year-old, and then bring the real 12-year-olds they know to see “Vitus” for themselves.

“Vitus” opens in limited release on June 29th (official site).

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Give Back

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

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.

Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.


Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…


IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.


IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).


IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.


IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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