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“Obselidia,” a compendium of indie clichés.

“Obselidia,” a compendium of indie clichés. (photo)

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Reviewed at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival.

One of this year’s festival bumpers — the 2010 Sundance motto being “This is the renewed rebellion” — pokes fun of a “The Player”-style pitch for an indie feature that’s part “Royal Tenenbaums,” part “Donnie Darko,” half LSD flashback, a family film about people who “don’t even know they’re a family,” with an Alan Alda-type crotchety grandpa with a substance abuse problem. Then this pitch gets ripped up in favor of new, fresh storytelling! Like “Obselidia,” the debut feature of one Diane Bell, a movie so packed with that very type of Sundancey cliché that you could almost imagine the plot and characters being crowd-sourced, Mad Libs style, at a Park City bar:

Eccentric loner: How about George (Aussie actor Michael Piccirilli), an inert Los Angeles librarian with a vague James Franco/Guy Pearce resemblance whose hobby is compiling an encyclopedia of obsolete things? Among these he counts love, which, he claims is “just a protein.” Will he reconsider? Of course, once he meets his…

Manic pixie dream girl: Sophie (Gaynor Howe), who works as a silent film projectionist, latches onto George after he comes to interview her (on an outdated VHS camcorder, natch) for his project, showing up at his doorstep and cajoling him out on a date despite his resistance. Before you know it, they’re off on a…

Road trip: To Death Valley, where they camp and visit a climate change expert who lives alone in a trailer tending bees. Will one of the characters hang out the car’s sunroof, arms outspread, as they drive? Maybe so. All the better to shake off that…

01212010_obselidia2.jpgUnearned melancholy: And how! It’s unclear as to what, exactly, has made George so mopey, but Sophie suffers from what she calls “nowstalgia,” a tendency to experience nostalgia for things even as they happen. Later, stricken by the scientist’s insistence that humanity will be wiped out by 2100, she weeps, “The world’s going to end, we’re all going to die, and I haven’t really started living my life yet.”

There’s a heartbreaking gap in “Obselidia” between the film itself and the guilelessly chosen references it throws out like a high schooler who’s studied up on what he thinks are the right bands, books and movies to impress a college girl he just met. George and Sophie visit Zabriskie Point and wander through the Museum of Jurassic Technology, and Sophie admits that her last relationship didn’t work out because her boyfriend didn’t like foreign or black and white films. “I just don’t know if I can be with someone who won’t watch ‘Au Hasard Balthazar,'” she confesses.

If I heard someone say that in real life, I would be overcome by an urge to punch that person in the face. Fortunately for me, no one in “Obselidia” bears a resemblance, even in a stylized sense, to any conceivable flesh and blood human being.

“Obselidia” does not yet have U.S. distribution.

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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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