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NYFF 2008: “Bullet in the Head.”

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10012008_bulletinthehead.jpgI hope someone out there is proclaiming Jaime Rosales’ “Bullet in the Head” a masterpiece of experimental filmmaking that forces you to reconsider narrative’s place and importance in film and such and such. There is something likable about its daring, and it’s exactly the kind of film that needs a vocal contrarian champion to stubbornly insist it’s the best thing ever. But that person is not me. “Bullet in the Head” is an 85-minute film shot in stalker-cam via long range lens. There’s no audible dialogue save a moment when the characters yell loud enough to reach even the theoretical onlooker with whom we share a POV: “Fucking cops!” — which is also when the film delivers on the violence promised in its title. Before that point, for a crawling almost-hour, we watch from afar as our main man (played by Ion Arretxe, the production designer on Rosales’ last feature, “Solitary Fragments”) chats in cafes, samples music in a store, buys a paper, goes to a party, picks up a woman with whom he spends the night, and goes on a drive to France with some friends.

Rosales has described his film as being shot “like a wildlife documentary,” except that wildlife documentaries cut to the exciting bits, while “Bullet in the Head” sets out deliberately to bore you with the mundane details of the life of what at first seems to be a normal guy. You wouldn’t know it from the film, but the events are based on an actual incident in which three ETA members shot two policemen in an unplanned encounter. The stoically observatory nature of the first two thirds wards off any judgments — we struggle to make the scenes add up to a story, to pin down who the man we’re watching is and why he’s the focus of attention, but could never foresee what eventually happens. I guess even the most normal of people are capable of violence, and that Basque separatists get their cash from ATMs just like everyone else, but those aren’t enough to hang a film on, particularly not one as consciously confounding as this.

“Bullet in the Head” currently has no U.S. distribution. For more coverage of the New York Film Festival, click here.

[Photo: “Bullet in the Head,” Fresdeval Films, 2008]

+ “Bullet in the Head” (NYFF)

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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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