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Desplechin vs. Anderson: “Fantastic” family men.

Desplechin vs. Anderson: “Fantastic” family men. (photo)

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Wes Anderson’s “Fantastic Mr. Fox” (which is, yes, fantastic) begins its platform release domestically two Fridays from now, but it’s already out in the UK — complete with a “Fantastic Mr. Fox Happy Meal” — and the publicity mill is already grinding. One of the cooler interviews Anderson’s done is with French director Arnaud Desplechin (recently ordained the future of cinema by Alain Resnais at a New York Film Festival press conference) — though, per Interview magazine’s usual form, it’s more of a curious dialogue between equals than a straight-up interview. They talk about Proust, argue about which directors influence them and scratch each other’s backs a little. Desplechin tells a really morbid Hitchcock anecdote.

What no one mentions the entire time is the thematic overlap Anderson and Desplechin share, the entire reason someone might’ve sicced them on each other in the first place. The tagline of “The Royal Tenenbaums” was “Family isn’t a word…It’s a sentence,” which would work just as well for Desplechin’s famlial dramas, 2004’s “Kings And Queen” and 2008’s “A Christmas Tale.” Desplechin doesn’t really focus on the failing father figure to the same extent Anderson repeatedly does, but both deal with families who — if not for blood ties — would’ve murdered each other long ago.

They use different tools to get there: Anderson uses overt stylization, (sometimes hermetic) tableaux frames and, more often than not, a sugary veil concealing deep wells of emotion. Desplechin prefers handheld camera, willful tonal abrasion and almost comical levels of overt hostility. In 1991’s “La Vie Des Morts,” one of the daughters announces at the breakfast table, to her mom’s face, that everyone always hates their mother; in 2008, son Mathieu Amalric calls mom Catherine Denueve an anti-Semite, and she calls him her little Jew. And so on.

They almost hint at this commonality when Anderson admits his “characters from one movie could walk into another one of my movies and it would make sense, whereas people from other peoples’ movies would probably feel a bit uncomfortable there.” Desplechin says that’s rare, and Anderson counters, “Your movies have the same thing, except they’re more realistic, so it becomes more subtle.” “I wouldn’t say that,” Desplechin demurs. He’s not wrong: one just seems more “realistic” than the other because Desplechin’s performers get volatile on very little notice and the camera isn’t pinned down. Still, his films operate on their own, equally hyper-stylized logic. (That’s to say, no, there aren’t any families that are really that constantly vicious to each other to their faces, like a comic “Long Day’s Journey Into Night.”) It’s a decent interview, but I wish someone had told them to talk about their relationships to and obsession with family. Then again, maybe there’s a good reason neither one of them brought it up: for both of them, it’s one of the ultimate sources of cinematic pain.

[Photo: “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” 20th Century Fox, 2009.]

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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

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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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…


IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.


IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).


IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.


IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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