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Tribeca 2009: “The Exploding Girl.”

Tribeca 2009: “The Exploding Girl.” (photo)

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Named after the B-side to The Cure’s “In Between Days” — the tune that provided the title to director Bradley Rust Gray’s wife and filmmaking partner So Yong Kim’s 2006 debut — “The Exploding Girl” is a similarly moody slow-motion maybe love story between a young woman and the male best friend she’s begun to reconsider in a romantic light. While Kim’s film mixed its adolescent angst with the isolation of the newly immigrated, Gray’s is set in more familiar territory, at least to anyone who’s been to a festival in the last few years. It’s mumblecoresque mainly in its milieu of inarticulate, educated 20-somethings — formally, “The Exploding Girl” is more ambitious, a beautifully shot study of bottled up feelings that’s also maddening in its lack of sharp edges.

There’s a medical motivation to its mildness. Ivy (played by up-and-comer Zoe Kazan), “The Exploding Girl”‘s focus, has epilepsy, and while it hasn’t interfered with her leading a normal life and going to college — the film takes place over a summer break at home in New York — it has made her cautious and controlled, striving to subdue any outburst of strong feelings that might set off a seizure. Over a series of seldom returned phone calls, her college boyfriend throws her over for his high school sweetheart, while her childhood friend Al (Mark Rendall), who clearly pines for her, is starting to also consider other girls. These are small strains, sure, but in the film’s ultra-intimate scale, they tower.

Cinematographer Eric Lin’s camera takes in Ivy from afar in public, through doorways at parties and over shoulders on crowded subways, but in private drifts inquisitively close to Ivy’s pensive face. “The Exploding Girl” sustains the sense of a breath being held, but the tension it tries to generate is dissipated by the wateriness of its characters, Ivy a blue-eyed blank, Al puppyish, both paralyzingly nice and neither interesting enough to be worth an investment in the possibility of their coming together.

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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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