The Environmental Film Festival is the top story of the week for local movie lovers. Go green this week in Washington, D.C.
Tuesday, March 15
Celebrate the natural world at the Environmental Film Festival running from March 15 through March 27. There are 150 films being presented at 60 venues including embassies, museums, and local theaters. Most of the screenings are free and include discussions with filmmakers and environmental experts. With all the talk about rising gas prices, I’m glad to see that this year’s theme is energy and the environment. Opening night includes the world premiere of “The Polar Explorer” at the Embassy of Canada. I like the big seats and leg room in the comfortable auditorium. Plus, the reception snacks are always ample. Filmmaker Mark Terry will be on hand for a discussion on climate change after both screenings at 6:00 and 8:00 p.m. The reception will be held between the two screenings.
Wednesday, March 16
“Moolaade” is this week’s film in the Francophonie 2011 Cultural Festival running through April 15. This powerful story of female circumcision set in an African village won the Un Certain Regard prize at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival. It’s showing at the Avalon Theatre at 8:00 p.m.
Friday, March 18
Follow the Environmental Film Festival to the Embassy of Austria. “Plastic Planet” explores the perils this everyday material poses to environmental and human health. Director Werner Boote will lead a Q&A after the 7:30 p.m. screening. You won’t even need cab fare. Located a few blocks from the Van Ness Metro, it’s one of the easiest embassies to get to.
Saturday, March 19
My only complaint is that there are too many choices for just one Saturday. The Environmental Film Festival presents the Washington premiere of “Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives.” Winner of the Palme d’Or at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival, it focuses on the final days of a terminally ill man who journeys to the birthplace of his first life. It’s showing at the American Film Institute Silver Theatre at 7:20 p.m.
“Kutiyattam” is a rare glimpse into the unique theatrical tradition of Kutiyattam Sanskrit theater from India. Director Adoor Gopalakrishnan will be on hand to introduce his documentary. It’s free and scheduled for 1:00 p.m. in the Meyer Auditorium in the Smithsonian Freer Gallery.
The American dream turns into a nightmare for a poor immigrant who leaves Venice for the Lower East Side in “The Italian.” This surprisingly sophisticated silent film from 1915 will be accompanied with live music. I wish all movie theaters still had piano players. For now, these museum cine-concerts are the next best thing. The free show starts at 1:00 p.m. in the East Building Auditorium at the National Gallery of Art.
Kevin Costner encounters a local Sioux tribe in “Dances With Wolves.” Watch it for free in the William G. McGowan Theater at the National Archives. It’s showing at noon.
Get a head start on Earth Day at the movies this week in Washington, D.C.