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"The important thing is the effort, not what we achieve."
…to cite Guy Maddin on the death of Bergman. Art film is dead, writes Camille Paglia at Salon (scroll down to "On the culture front" if you’re not in the mood for political choir-preaching): "Aside from Francis Ford Coppola’s ‘Godfather’ series, with its deft flashbacks and gritty social realism, is there a single film produced over the past 35 years that is arguably of equal philosophical weight or virtuosity of execution to Bergman’s ‘The Seventh Seal’ or ‘Persona’?" She unexpectedly also offers up the "Star Wars" films as another possibility of worthiness.

But art movies are gone, gone with the wind. In some cases, what once seemed suggestive and profound now feels tortured and pretentious. For example, why should the rivetingly supersophisticated Jeanne Moreau have to drive her car off that damned bridge at the end of François Truffaut’s "Jules and Jim"? It’s factitious and absurd. All of the major European directors hit the skids in the ’70s. I, for one, had little interest in late Bergman, Antonioni or Fellini, who seemed to decline into pastiche and self-parody. With Bergman in particular, the austere turned sentimental. But why should any artist have to compete with his or her peak period? We should be satisfied with the priceless legacy of genius.

This is actually more balanced than we’d have expected, despite her later getting bogged down in "kids these days" complaints. That "philosophical weight" though — there’s the rub. If that is the definition of "art film," which one could certainly argue, then it might as well be dead, in that it’s become almost impossible for contemporary films to engage such Great Themes as directly as Bergman or Antonioni once did. It comes across as pretentious, callow, insincere — though we wouldn’t be so quick to assert that the form of the art film is drooping out of modern access like the Spenserian sonnet. points to this list at a Japanese art magazine in which ten directors, artists and so on give their top ten "’artistic’ films of the 21st century." Many of the picks are installation pieces, but there are plenty of more and less standard choices worth debating: Kurosawa Kiyoshi picks Spielberg’s "War of the Worlds" and Olivier Assayas’ "Demonlover"; Apichatpong Weerasethakul picks "Goodbye, Dragon Inn" and this digital toy.

Ty Burr at the Boston Globe expressed similar concerns on the fading of arthouse greats, and wonders: "What place does cinema’s back catalog have for today’s filmgoer? What place should it have?" And Joshua Rothkopf at Time Out NY interviews a more adaptable filmmaker in the realms of the avant-garde: Jonas Mekas.

Does Mekas fear a splintered community of separatist iPod viewers? “I really must confess,” he says, sipping a beer and leaning in, “that when I was a child—and for years after—I had this dream that I was holding a book in my hand and it was moving like water. I’m not reading it; I’m watching it! My dream is now a reality. You won’t find negativity here.”

+ Art movies: R.I.P. (Salon)
+ Ten Top Ten Lists Of Video/Films For The 21st Century (
+ Closing credits (Boston Globe)
+ Weathered underground (Time Out NY)

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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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