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China doesn’t need your ticket.

China doesn’t need your ticket. (photo)

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On the heels of China’s announcement that it’s planning 50 films to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Chinese Revolution, Newsweek‘s Sonia Kolesnikov-Jessop reports on the rapidly changing face of the film industry there from the set of “Bodyguards and Assassins,” a big-budget, star-studded action film about a group of bodyguards hired to protect Sun Yat-sen from assassins in 1905 Hong Kong.

While, as Kolesnikov-Jessop points out, mainland China only has 4,100 movie screens (as compared to 38,834 in the U.S.), its domestic box office has risen from $117 million five years ago to a predicted $800 million this year, thanks to “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.” That’s enough to make it so that Chinese filmmakers no longer have to consider the outside world as a major source of revenue; the homeland audience is big enough to support films like the $25 million “Bodyguards and Assassins.”

Used to be, “banned in China” was consider a reliable indicator of worth; major Chinese filmmakers like Zhang Yimou and Jia Zhangke were once announced with the approving note that their work couldn’t be officially shown in their homeland. Now Zhang organizes the Olympics for Beijing and Jia withdraws his movie from festivals whose agendas don’t coincide with China’s. Clearly, the value of working within the system (and therefore getting shown on local screens) has shifted.

Critics wanting to give Zhang and his contemporaries (once rebels) the benefit of the doubt have never really figured out, this last decade, how to parse mandated propaganda from artistic expression. More and more, China seems to be giving notice that it no longer needs those viewers; it’s gotten its major filmmakers to join the pipeline, and a fair amount of the underground stragglers (like Lou Ye’s latest “Spring Fever”) are more notable for rebelliousness than talent.

It’s a remarkable consolidation of widely recognized talent into one monolith. And that an industry can be so self-supporting on such a lavish scale (and expand!) is new; even Bollywood films make an effort to target expatriates in the US and elsewhere. Will China build a capitalistically self-sustaining Bollywood? Will the underground persist or join? Stay tuned.

[Photo: “Bodyguards and Assassins,” We Distribution, 2009]

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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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