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NYFF: “Actresses.”

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"It's summer and I'm in love."
[A note: "Actresses" has just been picked up by IFC First Take. We’ve generally tried to avoid reviewing films that will be distributed by our sister company for obvious reasons, but, given that First Take is handling like, 99% of the NYFF line-up at this point, we’re setting that rule aside for now and you can take this with as large a grain of salt as you require.]

Method acting is a form of insanity. Valeria Bruni Tedeschi should know; she’s been acting in films for over two decades. In "Actresses," her second effort as a director, she prods the malleable, unstable temperaments of those who choose to spend their lives contorting their personalities into those of fictional characters by way of a stage production of Turgenev’s "A Month in the Country." Bruni Tedeschi, who co-wrote the film with Noémie Lvovsky and Agnès de Sacy, stars as Marcelline, an established actress who’s turning 40 and whose inner voice of sanity is getting drowned out by the ticking of her biological clock, or maybe the naggings of her pragmatic mother (Marysa Borini), whose patience for Marcelline’s romanticism and lifelong girlishness is wearing thin. In following "A Month in the Country" from initial read-throughs into production, "Actresses" finds plenty of humor in the ridiculousness of the process, from Marcelline, in an early exercise, working herself into a frenzy trying to figure out how to open a door in character, to the gay director Denis (Mathieu Amalric) mauling Marcelline in her dressing room out of some idea of how a director should treat his chosen muse, to another in which Marcelline gives another actress three minutes to cry on cue. That last scene recalls Scott Coffey‘s 2005 portrait of a Hollywood starlet hopeful "Ellie Parker," but the film as a whole has more in common with Mitsuo Yanagimachi‘s "Who’s Camus Anyway," which screened at the festival two years ago and which also follows the folie à plusieurs of a big production. Actors are inherently dramatic people, argues "Actresses," because they spend their lives immersed in grand gestures and so can only communicate that way in real life, no matter how silly it seems to the normal population. Marcelline in particular has trouble separating the feelings of her character (who she starts to hallucinate in the form of Valeria Golino) from her own, and so may or may not have fallen for the actor (Louis Garrel) playing her character’s on-stage love interest, a relationship exacerbated by her own desperation to find love.

Bruni Tedeschi is radiant and milky-eyed as Marcelline, and also fearlessly loony. As the film goes on and becomes more funny-sad than funny, she becomes accordingly more shrill and unreasonable, until she finally finds herself echoing the iconic dramatic gesture of another high-strung cinematic heroine. For Marcelline, the act doesn’t win her any arguments, it just leaves her dog-paddling in the Seine.

"Actresses" screens October 11 and 13th at Frederick P. Rose Hall, and will receive an eventual theatrical release from IFC First Take.

+ "Actresses" (FilmLinc)
+ "Actresses" (IMDb)

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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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