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Eric Rohmer, 1920-2010.

Eric Rohmer, 1920-2010. (photo)

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The death of Eric Rohmer earlier today wasn’t necessarily a surprise. At age 89, Rohmer had been reported to be frail — an interview with UK paper the Independent last year found him “gaunt and having skeletal features,” but “in good health.”

He’d announced that 2007’s “The Romance of Astrée and Céladon” might have been his last film; as last testaments go, you couldn’t ask for much better. The film’s critical reception was unaccountably lukewarm: people seemed unwilling to take Rohmer’s 21st-century filming of a 17th-century lyric novel about 5th-century druidic shepherdesses in love at face value.

It shares highlights with a lot of Rohmer’s more representative work, which similarly zooms in on the social mores of our times, in contexts that didn’t necessarily endear him to all comers. Dave Kehr’s surprisingly prickly obituary in the New York Times sees fit to remind us that Rohmer’s movies were “as much about what does not happen between his characters as what does, a tendency that enchanted critics as often as it drove audience members to distraction.”

01112010_clairesknee1.jpgRohmer was often used as an example of the ultimate in dry, alienating ’70s foreign films audiences couldn’t get into. As nearly every obituary so far seems to feel the need to note, in 1975’s “Night Moves,” the Gene Hackman character says he saw a Rohmer movie once and it was “like watching paint dry.” (In the novelization, oddly, the potshot was launched at Claude Chabrol.) So Rohmer’s legacy will not settle down quietly or uncontested.

Rohmer’s passing seems to have made more waves than usual for an octogenarian master, becoming, briefly, a trending topic on Twitter (in between #ihungupbecause and #failedpickuplines, which sound a bit like vulgarized Rohmer topics anyway) and inspiring, at least among many of my friends, spontaneous bar gatherings and so on. Rest in peace, New Wave master.

[Photos: Rohmer on the set of “The Romance of Astrée and Céladon,” Koch Lorber Films, 2007; “Claire’s Knee,” Columbia Pictures, 1971]

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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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