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The great dauteurs of Hollywood.

The great dauteurs of Hollywood. (photo)

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Nepotism is an accepted part of the movie business, but given the gender inequality in the directorial ranks, it’s particularly pronounced with the news that Ami Caanan Mann will direct “The Fields.” A thriller starring “Avatar”‘s Sam Worthington as a Texas detective investigating a spate of murders around the state’s oil refineries, “The Fields,” Mann’s second feature, will start shooting in April. If that surname sounds familiar, it’s because Ami is the daughter of Michael, and if this entire scenario rings a bell, it’s because it seems as though one of the only reliable ways to break through as a female filmmaker is to have a notable filmmaker as a father.

Whether you love her or hate her, Sofia Coppola seems to be a trailblazer in this regard. After making “The Virgin Suicides,” Coppola not only all but erased memories of her poorly received turn as an actress in her pop’s “Godfather: Part III” (in which, to be fair, she was a last minute replacement for Winona Ryder), but managed an Oscar win for writing “Lost in Translation” and scored the elusive Bill Murray for a lead, whichever of those you find more impressive. After far more successful acting careers than Coppola, Amy Redford (“The Guitar”) and Alison Eastwood (“Rails & Ties”) followed her lead, making modest directorial debuts that demonstrated their fathers’ sense for nuance and also their personal desire to tell their own stories.

Unlike those women, Mann never attempted being in front of a camera, preferring to stay behind the scenes as a second-unit director on “Heat” before helming episodes of “Robbery Homicide Division” and “Friday Night Lights.” The same is mostly true of “Broken English” director Zoe Cassavetes, who performed a few favors for friends, including a small part in Coppola’s first short “Lick the Star” while also serving as her second assistant director. Then there’s Jordan Scott, daughter of Ridley and niece to Tony, who’s been working her way towards her boarding school feature “Cracks,” scheduled to come out later this year, by directing a number of shorts. Even “Please Give” director Nicole Holofcener had Woody Allen’s longtime producer Charles H. Joffe as a stepfather.

02092010_lickthestar1.jpgNow, this isn’t a knock on these women for taking advantage of their privileged genes — most of them have brothers who have become directors too, but as Charles Taylor lamented in his recent piece “Hollywood’s Femme Fatale Rate,” too few female directors are allowed to develop their skills over a series of films in which they can learn as they build a body of work. So it makes sense that to a degree, these particular women are getting an even greater leg up by growing up around sets or have a parent who can explain mise-en-scène to them at an early age. It just would be nice to have that parent being a mother instead of a father one of these days.

[Photos: Sofia Coppola and Kirsten Dunst on the set of “Marie Antoinette,” Columbia Pictures, 2005; Zoe Cassavetes in “Lick the Star,” Film Movement, 1998]

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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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