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Courting Controvery at Berlin

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By Alison Willmore

José Padilha’s “Tropa de Elite” (“Elite Squad”) was awarded the Golden Bear, the top prize of the Berlin Film Festival, this past Saturday. The film, which looks at how the BOPE special police unit in Rio de Janeiro uses exceptionally violent tactics to subdue crime in the favelas, was a controversial pick. A box office hit in its native Brazil, “Tropa de Elite” drew a mixed reaction from critics at the festival, some of whom felt that it glorified the brute force used by its characters — Variety‘s Jay Weissberg wrote that it elevated the BOPE to “Rambo-style heroes,” and called the film “a one-note celebration of violence-for-good that plays like a recruitment film for fascist thugs.”

Padilha, who last directed the acclaimed documentary “Bus 174,” told the AP that this was a misread, and that the film actually “aims to explain how the state turns … people who join the police either into corrupted people, or people that don’t really want to do anything with their jobs — or, worst of all, violent people.” “Trope de Elite” will be released in the U.S. by the Weinstein Company.

Other winners:

Jury Grand Prize – Silver Bear:
“Standard Operating Procedure,” dir. Errol Morris

Silver Bear for Best Director
Paul Thomas Anderson — “There Will Be Blood”

Silver Bear for Best Actress
Sally Hawkins — “Happy-Go-Lucky,” dir: Mike Leigh

Silver Bear for Best Actress
Reza Najie — “Avaze Gonjeshk-ha” (“The Song of the Sparrows”), dir: Majid Majidi

Silver Bear for an Outstanding Artistic Contribution (Music)
Jonny Greenwood — “There Will Be Blood,” dir. Paul Thomas Anderson

Silver Bear for Best Script
Wang Xiaoshuai — “Zuo You” (“In Love We Trust”)

Alfred Bauer Prize for innovation
“Lake Tahoe,” dir. Fernando Eimbcke

Best First Feature
“Asyl – Park and Love Hotel,” dir. Kumasak Izuru

[Photo: “Trope de Elite” (“Elite Squad”), ©Weinstein Co, 2007]

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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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