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Cannes 2009: “Spring Fever.”

Cannes 2009: “Spring Fever.” (photo)

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Lou Ye was banned from making films for five years by the Chinese government after “Summer Palace” screened at Cannes in 2006 without their approval. Which means it’s some sort of act of defiance and bravery, sure, for him to have since then made “Spring Fever,” which this year premieres in competition. But the film is pure soap opera under the scarcest sheen of something higher, a love pentagon set in neon-and-concrete Nanjing. Jiang Cheng (Qin Hao) is its central tragic gay, subject to various emotional and physical beatings, who when things begin is traveling with his married lover to a rural trysting spot. The man’s wife suspects him of cheating and hires the aimless Luo Haitao (Chen Sicheng) to spy on the two. When the situation unavoidably implodes, Jiang Cheng tries to heal his broken heart by moving on to a whole new ill-advised relationship with a man already involved with a woman, developing a flirty friendship with the apparently game Luo Haitao that slips into something more. Luo Haitao’s girlfriend develops problems of her own when the factory in which she works is shut down, and she’s so heartbroken when she learns of his new liaison that she creeps off to cry and sing karaoke.

Dishes are also thrown, songs are performed in drag, poetry is splashed on screen, there’s a razor attack and a fair amount of explicit sex, mostly between the men — yes, yes, defiant and brave and so on. But while Lou Ye does valiantly attempt to showcase a subsection of mainland Chinese life that’s simply not put on screen, he never raises his characters out of their flatly assigned roles, and some, like Luo Haitao’s girlfriend Li Jing, are really just doleful ciphers, their dramas impossible to invest in, a lot of sound, fury and shower scenes, signifying nothing.

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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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