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"Time that makes everything change -- I was afraid of time."
Love is something like falling on a sword in Kim Ki-duk‘s films, or, given his characters’ tendencies toward masochism, maybe more like willfully gutting yourself on one. The couple at the focus of "Time," his latest film to receive a Stateside release ("Breath," his newest, premiered at Cannes two months ago), are relatively well-adjusted for lovers in his oeuvre, passing on the fish-hook play and forced prostitution to indulge in a slightly more acceptable form of self-mutilation. The pair, Seh-hee (Park Ji-Yeon) and Ji-woo (Ha Jung-woo), have hit a lull in their two-year relationship, and Ji-woo’s eye is wandering while Seh-hee’s embarked on a downward mental spiral of jealously and brittleness. One night, when Ji-woo finds himself unable to make love to her, Seh-hee entreats him to close his eyes and pretend he’s with the girl he was checking out at their favorite coffee shop. Orgasm accomplished and having instilled an estimable amount of dread in the audience, Seh-hee has a breakdown, and the next morning has vanished, with no word to Ji-woo.

"Time" opens with a graphic opening montage of
plastic surgery footage that, along with its title and ticking clock credit sequence, seems to set up a critique of a youth- and beauty-obsessed culture. But when Seh-hee arrives at the doorstep of her local surgeon, she doesn’t want to look prettier, only completely different — its not the ravages of age that she’s battling, but the brevity of the human attention span. While Ji-woo bobs around heartbroken, listlessly attempting to find a new relationship, Seh-hee spends six months in recovery before reintroducing herself into his life as another woman: See-hee ("Woman is the Future of Man"‘s Seong Hyeon-a).

Kim Ki-duk has never had what you could call a light touch, and "Time" has the awkwardness of his work at its roughest, shuddering between flat-out allegory and shrill portrait of a demented relationship. We can only guess at what Seh-hee and Ji-woo were like in earlier, happier times from glimpses of a few photos; Seh-hee, pre- and post-op, seems only to alternate between shrieking, weeping and being, as Ji-woo observes, just plain scary, while Ji-woo seems noncommittal and capable of endless unthinking cruelty. And yet, before the film ventures into the realm of the isolatingly ridiculous, there is something to its morose portrayal of the trouble with men and women, and of love inconveniently enduring while novelty and passion inevitably fade. The film finds its way again and again to a coffee shop that seems the exclusive setting of break-ups, and to the island-bound Baemigumi sculpture park, where lovers gaze without recognition at sculptures that equate eroticism with grappling. These scenes play out with the strangeness and sharp edges of a Buñuel film stripped of any humor — Seh-hee and Ji-woo return over and over to their old haunts as a couple, but are never any wiser, going to absurd lengths to return their relationship to first bloom.

"Time" opens in New York and Chicago on July 13th.

+ Time (Lifesize Entertainment)

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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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