This browser is supported only in Windows 10 and above.


Tones of Home

Tones of Home (photo)

Posted by on

Despite filmgoers’ general lack of ticket-buying interest, the omnibus film — thematically contiguous shorts or semi-shorts by various filmmakers, packaged together as a feature — is enjoying an unlikely resurgence akin to its Euro heyday in the ’60s. What’s rousing about the phenom, then and especially now, is that its thriving fecundity is largely fed by the creative yens of directors and producers, not by the entertainment demands of a mass audience. To a certain degree, you get the sense that no one involved in, say, “Paris, Je T’Aime” (2006) (Van Sant, Assayas, Coen, Cuaron, etc.), or “To Each His Own Cinema” (2007) (Angelopoulos, Kiarostami, Kitano, Egoyan, Campion, Loach, Dardennes, de Oliveira, Wong, Lynch, etc.), or “New York, I Love You” (2009) (Akin, Ratner, Iwai, Nair, etc.), cared much if filmgoers queue up or not, so long as they get a chance to explore the short form and then assemble a larger fugue out of the disparate powerhouse voices assembled. As it is, the collections are almost always interesting, if not often satisfying, but the Japanese-produced, digitally-shot “Tokyo!” (2009) is a thorny, dyspeptic joy, less an outright “city symphony” love letter like several of the other recent genre shots than an idiosyncratic prism-view of one of the world’s most pop culture-disoriented urban cultures.

Not that Tokyo itself is the material protagonist; the three sections, by foreigners Michel Gondry, Leos Carax and Bong Joon-ho, are obsessive meta-tales characteristic of their auteurs, and the city is plumbed mostly for its cramped sense of the surreal. Gondry’s “Interior Design” begins prosaically enough, as a young woman and her filmmaker boyfriend crash on a friend’s apartment floor, bicker and lose their car to impoundment as the debut of his new interactive film (at a porn theater) approaches. But then Gondry’s distinctive sense emerges: feeling like little more than a byproduct and facilitator of her boyfriend’s ambition, the girl begins to slowly transform into a chair, a process that’s indisputably physical just as it is subjective, in the typical Gondry way — it depends on how you look at it, and her.

Bong’s “Shaking Tokyo” is a lovely, resonant and oddly critic-dumped ode to dense urban life and its contingent loneliness — a catastrophically insulated shut-in, whose apartment is a labyrinth of meticulously stacked books, household goods and used cardboard, has his decade-long routine (at one point, he closes his eyes, opens them, and suddenly another year has passed) disrupted by earthquakes and a pizza delivery girl with tattoo buttons (to push in case of “sadness,” “hysteria,” “headache” and so on). The anal-retentive apocalypse that follows is delicate and inspiring, and Bong’s attention to details (a goosebump-risen hair, a plume of dust from a never-used shoe) is dazzling.

07072009_tokyo2.jpgBut Carax’s lunatic entry, “Merde,” is an unfettered cataract of reckless, psychosocial id, coming at us in the form of a monster movie (Godzilla’s theme and roar figure in the soundtrack), with its society-threatening creature, rising out of the sewer, played by Carax vet-acrobat-homunculus Denis Lavant. A smelly, unwashed, outrageously dressed (green velvet suit and cartoonishly twisted orange beard), palsy-gnarled homicidal Frenchman, limping through the streets hurling war-surplus hand grenades and terrorizing the often-terrorized Japanese, in a film made in Japan by an eccentric Frenchman, is one thing — but Carax pushes all of the buttons, bringing the titular goon to trial (where he only speaks gibberish with a renegade defense lawyer who has the same beard and dead eye, the two looking like mutant variations of Eisenstein’s Ivan the Terrible), where the translations (and multiple screens) mix and match between French, Japanese and nonsense, the Japanese authorities talk about “tougher immigration regulations” against “white foreigners with red beards,” and Merde himself becomes a pop star, complete with followers, figurine collectibles and a TV-news logo. That Carax has Lavant continually looking up into the light in a Christ-like pose may be the final affront, for the French at least if not the Japanese, whose famed isolationist homogeneity/xenophobia otherwise takes it in the throat.

Watch More

The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

Posted by on

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

Watch More

Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

Posted by on

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.

Watch More

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

Posted by on
GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

Watch More