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A Bleak, Flesh-Baring Ode to the Age of Berlusconi

A Bleak, Flesh-Baring Ode to the Age of Berlusconi (photo)

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Plagued by teenage sex scandals, charges of corruption and making Pompeii fall down, asked to step down by a former ally, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi seems to be nearing the end of his storied turn as one of the most tabloid-friendly world leaders. Which makes it a great time to revisit “Videocracy,” Erik Gandini’s scathing documentary about Italy under Berlusconi that received a very limited theatrical release earlier this year but is absolutely worth looking up now that it’s on DVD (as is currently streamable on Netflix Instant).

Gandini’s film is unapologetically biased, a cultural overview as horror film — Gandini has name-checked “Salò” when describing the imagery he presents, and his voiceover is laden with doom, Michael Moore with a sense of poetry. “Videocracy” gives very little larger context or background Berlusconi, but instead presents his influence as pervading the country and leaving it a soul-sick mess anesthetized by trash TV and longing for fame. And despite these choices/limitations, it’s a real earworm of a film (eyeworm?), wriggling its way into your memory with striking sequences of girls auditioning at a strip mall to be veline, the powerful agent with a Mussolini ringtone holed up in his all-white villa, the paparazzo-turned-celebrity preening nude and dead-eyed in front of the mirror, and most strikingly, the karaoke-style campaign video in full below, in which the photogenic masses sing in smiling praise of Berlusconi.

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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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