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Tribeca ’08: “Somers Town.”

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04282008_somerstown.jpg35-year-old director Shane Meadows seems unruffled by the burdens of being the current great hope of British cinema. “Somers Town,” his sixth film and best yet, is all the finer for its modesty — shot in black and white and coming in at a neat 75 minutes, the tale of the friendship between two teens in the North London neighborhood of the title reaches for nothing beyond its grasp and is, because of it, just about perfect.

Meadows reunites with Thomas Turgoose, the fierce little thirteen-year-old he made the star of “This is England” after the kid demanded for five pounds in exchange for his audition. Two years older, a bit longer and leaner and at an awkward halfway point in adolescence, Turgoose is still an amazing find, brash and fearless and possessed of an expressive baby face and a irresistible laugh. He plays Tomo, a runaway from Nottingham who arrives in London with nothing more than a bag that’s quickly stolen, and who takes up with Marek (Piotr Jagiello), a quiet Polish boy living with his father. Tomo’s great talent is an untrammeled ability to impose on others, which he uses to cadge himself a place to stay with Marek, who anyway doesn’t put up much of a fight. Marek likes the company, even if he has to hide Tomo from his father, who works all day and spends his nights drinking with other local Poles. The boys spend their days doing odd jobs for a local, semi-shady businessman, stealing Tomo a comically inappropriate outfit from the laundromat, and wooing the older, amused French waitress at a local diner with rides on a found wheelchair.

“Somers Town” was funded by Eurostar — the train service to Paris figures in at the end of the film. It’s an odd fact that, taken with the short run-time, would seem to make “Somers Town” a difficult film to place in theaters, which is regrettable. “Somers Town” doesn’t feel remotely like an ad; it feels, in fact, freer of burdens than any film I’ve seen recently, a scruffy and stupendously warm story of life in an unpretty part of the city with no lessons to teach or morals to impart.

“Somers Town” currently has no U.S. distribution.

[Photo: “Somers Town,” Works International, 2008]

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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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