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Film Agenda

Out of FrameHere is our new feature, a weekly schedule of independent and foreign films opening and being screened in Washington. Please add your own suggestions in the comments.

Opening on September 22 is Nick Doob and Chris Hegedus's documentary on the transformation of Al Franken from comedian to political force, Al Franken: God Spoke. The trailers looked funny, but I am predisposed to like Al Franken. In the same political vein and also opening this Friday is Frank Popper's documentary Can Mr. Smith Get to Washington Anymore?. It is an account of the outsider candidacy of a political unknown for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives from Missouri.

Matt Damon and Ben Affleck's Project Greenlight gave John Gulager the chance to produce his film Feast, which comes to E Street on Friday. It's a horror flick about a group of people fighting off creatures that want to eat their flesh, which sounds like a parable of Hollywood celebrity. Of much more interest to me is Michel Gondry's new movie, The Science of Sleep. The creator of the odd yet beautiful Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind wrote and directed this movie about a Parisian weirdo who lives as much in his dreams as in reality. It stars Gael García Bernal and Charlotte Gainsbourg, who does not sing.

The tribute to French director Benoît Jacquot continues this weekend at the NGA, with his 1981 adaptation of The Wings of the Dove by Henry James, Les ailes de la colombe (September 23, 2:30 pm). This unusual film stars the ever enigmatic Isabelle Huppert, Dominique Sanda, and Michele Placido, keeping the story in Venice but updating it to the 1980s. NB: This free screening is of a copy of the French original, without English subtitles.

A French film that is also an opera? Where do I sign up? In 2001, Benoît Jacquot did an unusual film adaptation of Puccini's Tosca, with the fine cast of Angela Gheorghiu (Tosca), Roberto Alagna (Cavaradossi), and Ruggero Raimondi (Scarpia). The movie combines scenes shot during the sound recording, locations in Rome, and a staged version of the opera. This free screening will be on Sunday (September 24, 4:30 pm); both Jacquot films will be screened in the auditorium of the museum's east building.

The latest movies in the Pedro Almodóvar Retrospective at AFI in Silver Spring are Todo sobre mi madre (All about my mother, 1999) and Habla con ella (Talk to her, 2002), opening on Friday, September 22. If you cannot get enough of films in Spanish, the 17th Latin American Film Festival opens on September 20.

It's going to be a good year for fans of French film in Washington, since La Maison Française has revived its film series. The French embassy now sponsors films shown at the Avalon Theater, as well as screenings in its own auditorium and cosponsorship with important festivals this fall at AFI and the National Gallery. Tomorrow (September 20, 8 pm) at the Avalon, there will be a single screening of Stéphane Brizé's Je ne suis pas là pour être aimé (I am not here to be loved, 2005), starring Patrick Chesnais and Anne Consigny. To go along with the Benoît Jacquot series at the National Gallery, La Maison Française will screen his documentary on the life of Jacques Lacan,Lacan, Psychanalyse 1 & 2. Yes, that is the Lacan who for a long time owned a certain very realistic Courbet painting.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I saw Can Mr. Smith Get to Washington Anymore? at Silverdocs in June. It won the Audience Award for best feature and I was really blown away by it. I think its going to be a huge hit in DC and I would urge foks to check it out.