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This is a golden age for foreign film.

This is a golden age for foreign film. (photo)

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A myth has spread in the last few years, seen most recently by Gerald Peary’s indieWIRE ballot of end-of-year list stuff: “Have there been less foreign-language films distributed at any time in America since the 1940s?” he asks. Um, yes.

Once upon a time, movies took years to get around the country, traveling slowly from theater to theater. That went double for imports, which arrived — when at all — at least a year late, and quite often later than that (“Pather Panchali” arrived three years late, “Throne of Blood” four). And that’s without even getting into discussing the plight of smaller, less milestone-y films during this alleged golden ’60s age, when every right-thinking American was apparently watching Bergman and Fellini before repairing for espressos and hash.

I know what Peary’s getting at, but it’s not a question of distribution. It’s a question of a lack of prominent critics who place Major Art at the center of the discussion rather than trying to sneak the art past reader-conscious editors who don’t want to alienate anyone. It’s also a question of the decline of the college cinematheque and viewing clubs, the passionate gatherings and late-night debates etc. And you know what? Those days sucked and had more to do with the dissemination of rep cinema and the rare chance to see milestones in scratchy conditions than great presentation and some kind of charged atmosphere surrounding the theater.

These days, many major festival movies don’t get distribution, and when they do, it’s limited to a token NY/LA release. But many more of them do than don’t, and even if they’re still not the most adventurous releases, there’s an awesome arthouse theater in Omaha, which isn’t something you could say 30 years ago. And guess what? Eventually those films do make it to DVD and are easy for pretty much everyone to get their hands on.

And if you do live in one of the big cities, your options are unlimited; granted, you have to keep a sharp eye out for what’s playing where and for how long, but it’s worth it. It’s not just the major films getting play, but a wide variety of smaller, specialty items. Enough with the complaining.

[Photo: “Time” magazine cover of March 14, 1960, Time Warner]

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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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