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The intersection of “important” and “good.”

The intersection of “important” and “good.” (photo)

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This year’s Lux Prize has been awarded to Philippe Lioret’s “Welcome.”

What’s the Lux Prize, you ask? Why, it’s the awards money the European Parliament gives out to movies that — in the official website’s words — show “the process of building Europe in a different light.” This is only the third year the prize has been given out.

“Welcome” is about an illegal Kurdish immigrant in France trying to swim the channel to join his girlfriend in England, so it’s reasonable to expect that issues of borders and cultural pollination are a big deal. (As the website puts it, “intercultural dialogue and freedom of thought […] are two of [the prize’s] most cherished causes.”)

In 2007, the prize went to Fatih Akin’s “The Edge of Heaven,” which is certainly about redefining European boundaries, going back and forth between Turkey and Germany. And in 2008, “Lorna’s Silence” won; as a movie about migrant workers being exploited in Belgium, it seems to fit the vague border-crossing theme.

What’s concretely notable is that the prize — in cold, hard fiscal terms — provides for subtitling and prints for the winning film in all 23 official languages of the EU, a huge boon in these financially difficult times. And it of course also offers another platform for condescending Europeans to once again repudiate Americans: “Cinema lies at the heart of the European cultural model,” the website states. “It is emblematic of the cultural exception dispute between the European Union and the United States.”

“Cultural exception” is the system of tariff and quotas France set up to limit American cultural imports and protect French film. There’s something nice about the way the policy and prize assist movies that are both socially significant and critically praised. No matter what the champions of inept granola docs on “human rights” issues may claim, you don’t have to choke down those stale Wheaties in the name of social conscience — there are films out there you might actually enjoy watching that accomplish the same thing.

[Photo: “Welcome,” Nord-Ouest Productions, 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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