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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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Rev Up

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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Give Back

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

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.

Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.


Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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