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Ken Loach vs Israel, round four.

Ken Loach vs Israel, round four. (photo)

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Throughout the summer and fall festival season, Ken Loach has gotten more headlines for his statements against Israel than his new movie “Looking For Eric.” Now his Israeli distributor is fighting back.

Loach first pulled the comedy from the Melbourne International Film Festival in July because the Israeli government had given the festival funds to cover the travel of an Israeli director. Then he bugged the Edinburgh Film Festival into returning a small grant from the Israeli Embassy, and topped it all off by signing a call for a boycott of the “City to City” portion of the Toronto International Film Festival, which would’ve focused on Tel Aviv.

It’s prompted a stinging statement from Nurit Shani, the CEO of Lev Cinemas and Films, who handle Loach’s films in Israel, announcng that profits from “Eric” and Loach’s upcoming “Route Irish” would be going toward the distribution of Israeli films at home and abroad. “The original artist, who I considered a great humanist, has turned out to be a man who does not believe in freedom of expression for people whose opinions oppose his own,” she added. “An artist that that has not read or did not understand Voltaire.” And she called his actions “a slap in the face of democracy.”

Loach’s response — alongside regular screenwriter Paul Laverty and producer Rebecca O’Brien — sarcastically suggested hope that Shani would fund movies “about those young men and women in Israeli prisons who refuse to join the Israeli army because of the illegal occupation of Palestinian lands. And why not include Palestinian film makers, or is Israel really an apartheid State?” Then they denounced Shani’s “bad manners” for not letting them know “Looking For Eric” would be playing in the Haifa International Film Festival.

It’s a little wearisome, and Loach has plenty more anti-imperialist rhetoric where that came from (“there are many other oppressive regimes and many war criminals including our own Tony Blair and his henchmen, not to mention the Americans”). It’s definitely easier to be principled when you’ve made one of your most upbeat, accessible films (starring a globally beloved soccer star, which is a huge selling point pretty much everywhere but the U.S.) and have pre-sold it before you hit the fests. But when even outspoken anti-Israel celebrity Vanessa Redgrave doesn’t have your back, it’s probably time to shut up.

[Photo: “Looking for Eric,” IFC Films, 2009]

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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

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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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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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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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