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Review: “brilliantlove,” British hipsters in love and squalor.

Review: “brilliantlove,” British hipsters in love and squalor. (photo)

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Reviewed at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival.

“brilliantlove,” directed by Ashley Horner, is a British hipster wish-fulfillment fantasy pretending to be a romance. Its lovers, Manchester (Liam Browne) and Noon (Nancy Trotter Landry), live in shabby paradise in a single-car garage on a hill. They have no visible means of supporting themselves, but they do have hobbies. Noon’s is taxidermy — she keeps dead birds she finds in the freezer until she has time to work on them. And Manchester’s is photography — photography of Noon, naked, or asleep, or while they’re having sex (they have a lot of sex).

One day, a vaguely sinister man named Franny (Michael Hodgson) finds the artless bedroom shots Manchester left behind in the pub after a bender of a night, and devotes a lot of energy to seeking Manchester out and offering him money for the photos — he thinks he can make Manchester into an art star, and, with ridiculous ease, he does. People flock to his opening (“His technique is that he has no technique!” one declares) and applaud when he gets drunk, calls them names and pisses on the floor.

He has, however, unwisely neglected to tell Noon about his plan to make their very private lives public, and she’s furious and finishes with him. He flees the cruel, cruel art world that tried to exploit their pure, pure love, and tries to win her back, first by making a diorama of their garage, and then by nearly dying of autoerotic asphyxiation.

If there’s any worth to “brilliantlove,” it’s in its attempt to portray the all-consuming throes of early love/lust, of feeling an infinite capacity to be open with someone else, mentally and physically, and to find that person’s every last glancing thought and detail profound. In theory, at least. In practice the film often gives you the feeling of being stuck in an enclosed space with an irritating couple who are really into PDA and really want you to know it.

Noon and Manchester boink incessantly, sometimes accessorized with Otter Pops (!) and other times with the help of salacious messages left for each other on a tape recorder. It’s not terribly sexy or engaging — your mind starts to wander toward how they manage to bathe (eventually you get a loving shot of Manchester washing his junk in a bowl) and why no one in the film seems to have discovered the internet (what year does it take place in?), where artless photos of random people having sex are commonplace and certainly not the stuff of cutting edge gallery shows. “brilliantlove” yearns to be frank and genuine, but presumes, even within its own storyline, that that automatically equals interesting. It doesn’t.

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

[Photo: Geraghty and Helfer in “Open House,” StoneBrook Entertainment, 2010]

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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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