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Critic wrangle: “The Witnesses.”

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Happy days.
Armond White at the New York Press describes André Téchiné as "the best French director most Americans don’t know." "The Witnesses," Téchiné’s latest film, focuses on a group of Parisian friends (among them Emmanuelle Béart and Michel Blanc) confronted with the onset of AIDS in 1984. Though it’s a relatively quiet week for theatrical releases, the film, which opens in New York and California, is unlikely to be that inconceivable breakthrough that makes Téchiné a household name, but that’s not for lack of love from the critics. White, who can’t love one director without bashing another, takes a hachet to Olivier Assayas while writing that Téchiné "shows what life-affirming really means." "Téchiné takes the subtlest measure of class, race, and sexual difference within his narrative," adds Nathan Lee at the Village Voice. "The first hour of Witnesses is the best thing of its kind since Kings and Queen, Arnaud Desplechin’s dizzying meta-melodrama, though Téchiné meets that picture’s onrushing richness sans dependence on rhetorical pyrotechnics." Michael Koresky at indieWIRE suggests that "Téchiné is fascinated by the ways in which lives interact, personalities cross-pollinate, wounds are compounded, exacerbated, or even healed, yet never in that increasingly mundane American style of overlapping stories that prize fate or coincidence; he paints specifically, creating not vague character sketches but full lives, however defined by enigma or contradiction."

At New York, David Edelstein describes the film as "excitingly convoluted," seeing the shift from melodrama to AIDS drama as "literally a coitus interruptus" and concluding that "It’s no mean feat to shift the hub and leave us more intrigued than annoyed." Stephen Holden at the New York Times salutes the way that the film "sidesteps most of its opportunities for high drama, political sermonizing and the jerking of tears," going on to write that "Mr. Téchiné refuses to pass moral judgment on any human behavior pertaining to love and desire. His recognition that these things are transient and constantly changing frees him to take a longer view."

David Denby at the New Yorker expresses a few hesitations, mainly that "The Witnesses" is "highly intelligent, but, still, one wants more out of this particular subject than lucidity and good sense."

Téchiné has made such strong movies as "French Provincial" (1975) and “Wild Reeds” (1994), but “The Witnesses,” despite some bouts of temper and bitterness, has a largely placid bourgeois surface… Rawness is a quality that seems to have disappeared from French cinema with the death of Maurice Pialat.

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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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