Starred Up: Director Comments
By James McCaskill, DC Film Society Member
Starred Up (David Mackenzie, 2013) will open at the AFI on September 19. These director comments are from the London Film Festival 2013.
An American audience will definitely need subtitles for this film and a glossary wouldn't hurt as the North England accent is not easy for Americans to understand and the prison lingo makes it even more difficult. That said it is a powerful film that should be seen. Variety said, "this powerful dysfunctional family saga is too well acted to go unreleased." The lead actor in this violent prison drama, Jack O'Connell, has been around a while having starred in the BBC drama, Skins, a few years back. His looks and acting skills have landed him in Angelina Jolie's upcoming film, Unbroken.
The following are extracts of the director's comments.
"It is a prison movie where a young offender gets transferred to an adult jail because he is too much trouble for the young offenders system, i.e., he gets "Starred Up." In the jail he gets up with one of he most important characters, his dad whom he hasn't seen since he was five years old. Part of the story is him and his dad trying to forge a relationship with each other. They are both troubled characters and have lots of issues. An angry young man having to survive in a the very hostile environment of a jail. He begins to form a relationship with a prison psychiatrist and with other prisoners who escalate and desolate their violence through a radical form of therapy.
"The character of the psychiatrist is based on the screenwriter's (Jonathan Asser) experience. The dynamics that happen in group therapy is based on his experience. One of the things that was important to me was authenticity. As authentic as we could be. Of course it is a piece of fiction. Fiction, I hope, that has a strong ring of truth to it.
"It was a fantastic cast. One of the pleasures for all of us was working in a single environment with a lot of support resulting in strong performances. I'm really happy about that. At the center of it is Jack O'Connell who gives a star turn performance. He has great energy and unpredictability. He is angry and aggressive but kind of a kid, playful at times. Electric. Jack is going on to be a big star. Ben Middleton is best known for his role in Animal Kingdom. Totally different acting perspective from Jack but they come together. He is one of the best actors I've worked with. Robert Friend is also outstanding. All came together. We filmed it sequentially. That helped everyone to get into character. Helped them understand the rhythm of prison life. I'm happy the way the cast came together.
"We rehearsed and talked. We brought in people who had experienced prison life. You asked them if certain things could happen. It helped filming in a Belfast prison. It almost became a character in the movie. We were awed by the structure: the concrete, the bars, the metal door. It seeps into your soul. We wanted everyone, extras as well, to feel the tension. There was a lot of tension. Sort of like a horror movie, You know someone is going to kick off. Everyone in the background knew that. Didn't know when or who. It was quite effective.
"Every time you looked down a corridor it looked cinematic. I was determined it was not going to be an art movie. The DP and I knew the action would determine the cinematography. In a small cell you are backed against a wall, you are limited in shoots. Except for one or two shots we just followed the action.
"Marginalized characters interest me. Think they are closed to all of us. Movies have made heroic characters formulaic. I'm interested in characters that are flawed.
"I have a few projects in the works. You never know which will come up first. Talking with Warner Brothers about one. Another one might be set in Scotland. Yet another one is about a German kid who goes on a crime spree in Belgium.
Starred Up opens exclusively at the AFI Silver Theater on September 19 for one week only.
Love Is Strange: Q&A with Director Ira Sachs
By Annette Graham, DC Film Society Member
A screening of Love Is Strange (Ira Sachs, 2014) took place August 4 at AMC's Georgetown Theater. After the screening there was a Q&A with director Ira Sachs; DC Film Society Director Michael Kyrioglou moderated.
Michael Kyrioglou: What was the inspiration for this story?
Ira Sachs: I've been in New York for 25 years so I'm a New Yorker at this point. And it took me a long time to make any film about this city because I feel that as a filmmaker what I have to offer is what I know well. And I actually feel that I do know this city well now. This work is very different from my previous work for many reasons, but most significantly, all my films are very personal films. This is not an autobiographical story, I made it at a time of my life when for the first time love was more possible than I had experienced in my past. Until I was 40 I only made movies about love's potential to destroy everyone involved (audience laughs). And I would say that one of things I liked about Ben and George and what I learned from them and also from the actors John Lithgow and Alfred Molina, is that these are men who actually like themselves and they like who they are in the world and feel comfortable with themselves. For me perhaps generationally, as a gay man who learned about my sexual and romantic life with some shame and some repression, it was hard won to get to the point that I could be in a relationship that had the potential to grow and blossom. And I am now. Part of that is because I met a great guy, my husband Boris Torres. But it's also because I was ready and able and that made me want to make a love story a real love story, and a romantic one about a couple whose obstable is not internal but external. Something they have to face together that reveals to the audience the depth and maturity of their love for each other. I'm always interested in stories and narratives that are revealing of character and revealing of what I learned from these individuals. Primarily it's about the seasons of our lives, and it's a film about perspective and the different perspective each of us have about love based on the point which we are in our lives. There are three stories going on. There is the story of Ben and George who are in the autumnal phase of their life. You have Marisa Tomei and Darren Burrows who are in the middle and looking both to the future with some knowledge of what comes and also close to their youth. It comes from trying to understand what they are allowed to ask for in the middle. Then you have this kid who is learning about love--both romantic and familial love--and the loss that can come within that relatioanship. To me it's a film about the circular seasonal merry go round. And I think it's also a film that I can only make in what is the middle of my life.
Audience Question: At end there is a flash forward a length of time, you don't see Ben's death or immediate reaction to it, or the funeral or anything that led to it. Why did you decide to have that gap?
Ira Sachs: The film is not about death. Death is part of the lives of these characters but it wasn't my narrative or thematic interest. My interest is the passage. It's a film about mentorship, what we can learn from our parents, grandparents, from each other. I didn't know John Lithgow or Alfred Molina before. I did a Q&A with John Lithgow last week and he was in Shakespeare's King Lear in Central Park, he's doing an Albee play on Broadway with Glenn Close. And he's simultaneously writing children's books and writing for the New York Times. That's the kind of guy I want to be. I knew a sculptor who started his last sculpture when he was 98. It was of a young teenage boy with a backpack. He never finished it. He died at 99. There's a clay sculpture which was so beautiful to me. I wanted to make a film about him and people who have lived lives that I can emulate in some way.
Michael Kyrioglou: We are not seeing every moment.
Ira Sachs: It's an aesthetic strategy that I've always been interested in. I've been influenced by lots of different kinds of filmmaking including documentary and realist cinema. I'm interested in positioning the audience in a world that's actually happening. I don't rehearse my actors. One reason is that I want something that is destabilizing about the experience in the way that life is. I think that sense that you don't know is actually the suspense of the film and also its lifelike texture. To me the ellipse is something like that as a reader of novels. I love novels that jump you forward and you catch up. because there's emotional attachment that can happen for an audience in that gap.
Audience Question: You focused on the sacrifices that families are asked to make and agree to make for other members of the family. How did you get that idea?
Ira Sachs: My husband is a painter and did all the paintings for John that are in this film. It was a collaboration on that level. We got married on January 6, 2013, six months after it was allowed in New York City. On January 13 we had twins with a good friend of ours who is the mother of the kids and lives next door to us. We co-parent these wonderful kids. While that was happening and I was beginning to work on this, there were a number of people who came to town who stayed with us and helped with the children. Suddenly in a one-room apartment we had two newborns, a recently married gay couple, the mother of the kids and a father or a mother who was coming for a week to live on the couch. Those interactions were comical and poignant, and often in underwear. (audience laughs). And that was something I was definitely noting. The film speaks to something that many of us can relate to--what do we owe our parents and what do our parents owe us and what do we owe each other as family? And in this case family is not only biological, family is communal. I'm interested in those questions.
Audience Question: Could you tell us about the two actors and how you cast them?
Ira Sachs: When I finished the script I was given a list of names to consider by various agents and Alfred Molina's name was in neon to me. I really loved his work for many years, particularly in films like Prick Up Your Ears and Boogie Nights which were two performances that were so different that I had no idea who Alfred Molina would be. In truth he's like a teddy bear, he's the nicest, most generous, just a wonderful guy with this bouyant humor, And that's part of who I think George is. It took about a year to get the film made. John Lithgow came in late in the process and was recommended to me. I went to meet John and he said it was the best script he had read since Terms of Endearment so I loved him and thought he had great taste (audience laughs). I visited him on the set of Interstellar which he was shooting in Calgary. He was so different than I imagined as a person and there was something so straightforward and modest and smart about him. There was something I had never seen in him that I had never seen in his work on the screen and I wanted some access to that. John and I made an agreement that this would be a different kind of performance for him in the sense that he would not be acting with a capital A but he would be acting with a small a. And we got to a place that was very naturalistic very quickly and that was a place that I think was very exciting to him because he could work in a different vein than he had been before. Those two guys fell in love on the set which was a wonderful thing. Not in a sexual way but in a romantic way where they had known each other for 20 years, they had both lived in LA for 30 years, both had been married for a long time, they share a generation as actors that kind of blossomed. The conversations--you couldn't get them to shut up. But that was a good quality. Shooting in New York, you try to let the city be part of the movie. Jean Renoir has a great quote, "When you are shooting a movie, open the windows and let the world in." And I try to live like that as best I can while also being totally controlling and making sure everything is exactly what I want. We were shooting the last scene of the film of the boy on the skateboard who meets a young girl. I cast that part as an extra's part so I had never met the girl who was the skateboarder. But I found this 14 year old in Long Island and she sent me a video and it looked to me like she could skate. Little did I know that she could not skate. This was our biggest day and policemen were shutting down Morton Street and 100 people are there to make this happen. I looked down and she was really sweating, this poor little 14 year old girl because she can't skate. I think, "What am I going to do?" Either you are going to shut down and come back the next day or something magical will happen and you don't know which. But it's stressful. And I see out of the corner of my eye a ponytail go by and I actually didn't know the gender of the ponytail but I had a feeling that it might be a female skater. So I said to my producer Jay Van Hoy, "I think that was a girl skater." And he ran. And he got it on a block, Alfred Molina got out of a van, and Jay got off a van and he followed this girl three or four blocks through the West Village and she ended up going down to the PATH train, and Jay got out of the van and ran down to the PATH train and tapped her on the shoulder and said, "Do you want to be in a movie?" And she said, "Sure." And that's the girl you see at the end of the film, exactly camera ready as she was when she came off her skateboard. That's why I don't rehearse movies too much because you want to be open to these possibilities.
Audience: What if it was a boy with a ponytail? (audience laughs)
Ira Sachs: Good question. None of the characters in my film are specifically defined by their sexuality. Their sexuality is part of who they are as characters. That means I have a sense of who I think they are. For me that kid was not a gay kid in my mind. And so I don't think that would have been my direction.
Audience Question: Could you tell us how you chose the music for the film?
Ira Sachs: Music has always played an important role in my films. I made a film called Forty Shades of Blue about a rock and roll producer in Memphis, a soul producer, and I made a film called Keep the Lights On in which all the music is by Arthur Russell. My co-writer Mauricio Zacharias is much more knowledgeable about music. The generation that's older than me knows more about classical music. I knew that these characters knew music in a way that I personally didn't. We wrote in that little piece for the girl, the eight-year old prodigy. We wrote in the Chopin etude for her to play. I got the idea partially because I had done that before in my last film that possibly Chopin could provide the entire score for the movie. I decided I wanted to do piano and it's really hard to find anyone who can write at the level that that is. One thing I love about music and movies is that it exists on its own plane. It has its own integrity as a piece of art. And in this film particularly that was important. What I've learned is that movie score music is based on the history of music in general. You can hear in Bernard Hermann you can hear Shostakovich and if you start listening to Chopin you hear every musical score you have ever heard in a movie because it is so varied in its drama. My editors are also quite knowledgeable about music. They listened to things and we would try things out. The piece that we see live at the piano and violinist is a more obscure musician named Wieniawski, it is not Chopin. It's a piece of music that I heard when I was driving in a car in Los Angeles. It sounded so much like it's from a romantic 1950s melodrama and two weeks later we were shooting it on the film.
Audience Question: New York apartments are very small. Did you shoot from far back or was it a set?
Ira Sachs: We were using locations, they were actual apartments. That was a loft in Gowanus, which is a part of Brooklyn. But we would not necessarily show every wall. By narrowing what we would present we could create some sense of the smallness. The truth is, apartments are small so you don't have to do much to make that happen.
Audience Question: How do you achieve the real life texture of the scenes?
Ira Sachs: This is my fifth feature. I've learned a lot of strategies and part of it is being attentive to the anthropology of these worlds. Any film that works is universal but your job is to be detailed about creating the world these characters live in. For the scene of the wedding party, my job was to get 50 people in that room who might be at George and Ben's wedding. I did my job well enough that on the day of the set two people who had gone to graduate school at Columbia at the MFA program in the 1950s ran into each other on the set and they hadn't seen each other since they had graduated. And they're both still working New York artists in their 70s. I really try to be very detailed with the world in which these characters live, it makes the job of the actors much easier because it's a real scene. The other thing I do is I don't rehearse in advance. I work with each of the actors individually talking through the scenes. But I've never heard them receite any of the dialogue, they've never heard another actor say dialogue. And what that creates is an atmosphere on set which is a discovery. So actors are never making decisions about their subtext. I never want to discuss or consider or think about subtext within a film. Because that means it has been literalized too much. I want things to happen that are about an actor responding to something that is unexpected to them. In truth, on a film set you shoot something for 6, 8, or 12 hours. There's many many times you do something. I just don't do it the day before. I do it in the shooting.
Audience Question: Have you heard of any actual cases where teachers in Catholic schools are asked to sign statements with moral turpitude clauses?
Ira Sachs: The film was inspired by an actual case which I know very little about on purpose. I read about a case and either Mauricio my co-writer or I brought it to the attention of the other. In the Midwest a man had been fired from his job as a choir director for a Catholic high school. He had been fired because he married his long time partner. And it sounded like a great engine for a romantic plot. It is about two people who are facing adversity together and you learn about their love in the process. So we heard about that and it was all we knew about that story. We wrote our own story. Since I've been promoting the film, I think I've had 8-10 cases in the US alone that have been shared with me where this is happening a lot. To me, this film is certainly speaking to that injustice but it is also an introduction to a lot of people of this couple and a way for this couple to be familiar to people in a way that is accessible. It is part of the political life of the film, not the political intent of the film. But it does have a political life. You try to make a film that is contemporary that's part of your job, and relevant and accurate to the time. That's what I was hoping to do.
Audience Question: Where did the Dungeons and Dragons-playing gay cops come from?
Ira Sachs: Mauricio and I spent a couple of months working together. We start as writers by talking about stories, stories from our lives. The film isn't autobiographical but I need to have references. Eventually they become other people. But there's always references to people. When I first met my husband Boris he was living in a house in the West Village that was several stories. He was on one floor; on another floor was a wonderful eccentric 77 year old man who has since died and was a true West Village character, a lot like Ben in many ways. In particular the way Ben dresses is modeled after this man, Michael Zimmer. And on the top floor were two gay cops who just seemed so unique in being kind of these contradictions of masculinity and sexuality. One of them literally does look like Rock Hudson in the sense that he's a movie star handsome 35 year gay cop. And he particularly is a Dungeons and Dragons fanatic. So the series of contradictions seemed like a wonderful detail of life. Woody Allen's films of the mid 1980s--Husbands and Wives, Hannah and her Sisters were important to Mauricio and me. But I wanted to show a different New York. I hoped to speak to a city that is diverse and yes, economics played an enormous role in people's lives. People live in New York and Washington but there are spaces where it becomes harder and harder to live and I think that is something people connect to.
Michael Kyrioglou: Is there anything you would like to tell us that we didn't ask?
Ira Sachs: I feel that Marisa Tomei gives a unique performance in this movie. It's unique because I think it is real in terms that she for the first time (and this is how she describes it) she was asked to play a woman who has her age and her experience. She's always asked to play younger and not as smart and not as someone who has lived a life and carries that history with her. That's why these actors do movies like this because they get this opportunity.
Love Is Strange opened in the DC area on August 29.
Tracks: Director Comments
By James McCaskill, DC Film Society Member
Tracks (John Curran, 2013) is scheduled to open in DC during September. Director John Curran made these comments during the London Film Festival 2013.
"London Film Festival is one of the most prestigious festivals. Just look around at the other films in competition.
"Tracks is based on the book by Robert Davidson. It is the true story of Robyn Davidson's solo journey of more than 1,600 miles by foot across the Australian outback. When she was 25 Robyn made the decision to pack up and move to Alice Springs, find some camels, train them and walk across to the ocean. It is as much the story of what she had to overcome to embark on the trip as the trek itself. In order to [get the money for] the trip she has to make a Faustian Pact with National Geographic to bring along a photographer. This was antithetical to what she is trying to do, which is to journey alone.
"It was filmed in the Southern and Northern territories of Australia. Vast expanses of desert. Robyn, 4 camels and a dog.
"First of all the landscape is an important character. The landscape has to be changing. The idea is transition and it has to be remote so it's a very important element. What the whole film is about really--physical challenges. Making a film, you have a big group of people that you have to get out in the middle of nowhere. Every day you have to get into cars and drive out to the middle of nowhere. On top of that you have to have a location with different looks. You're not coming all that way for one scene. The biggest demand on production was getting everyone and equipment into four-wheel drive and go over really rough roads. And then having enough daylight to shoot. It was a really frantic shoot to take advantage of every minute of sunlight we had. You were shooting out of continuity. Mia more than anyone had to suffer from the process of moving in and out of make-up and costume changes and also jumping into scenes without any rehearsals sometimes.
"I wouldn't say we had a tiny crew. Not a large one either for what we were trying to do. When we needed to move the camera, you need track. You need grips to carry stuff. We could have done it in a more stripped-back manner but that's not the way we saw it.
"I met Robyn first. It was important that she size us up and get a sense of what our angle was going to be. Over the years she had had others trying to make this film. The book came out in the early 1980s. Others wanted to make it into a film. It's a difficult film to adapt and some wanted to make it into a love story, others an action adventure. Our take was going to be authentic to her. Once she trusted us she removed herself a little bit from the project. She didn't want to be micromanaging it. There is a risk that if you give too much she may want to control it, you know? We had ground rules from the beginning. Then Mia met Robyn. A connection was made, they are very good friends now. They had to have boundaries around the relationship. She didn't come out to the shoot more than twice. It's tough to be an actor with the real person ten feet away. Robyn was very sensitive to that. She was happy to come and be invisible for a couple of days.
"I disregarded the book for our purposes. The back story didn't come from her. There were certain episodes in the journey that developed by accident. With the camels and the dog, we played off of them. That's not in the book. Major points about Robyn came from the book.
"When I met Mia I knew she was similar to Robyn: very reserved and quiet but warm and fiercely intelligent. Both are very intelligent and opinionated but reserved. Mia is an actress who can say a lot even in her stillness. And I think that's very important for this part. She is on her own a lot. You need someone who likes doing a role like that and Mia embraced it. Because of that I thought she could carry the emotional part just by being herself.
"We had ideas film making but think we all thought at the end of the day, 'I just want to get back to the hotel now.' I don't think Mia was trying to make an exact impression of Robyn. Not trying to channel her. She knew the essence of Robyn and did her own version of that. That was never her intention, nor mine. I never talked with her and said let's do an exact impression of Robyn. That was the right decision. They are similar and that was good enough for me. Mia is pretty good at leaving the work behind at the end of the day.
"It's never easy working with animals. For the camels, they carry stuff and walk around the desert so this was an easy day for them, a vacation for them. We had a camelier and one camel in particular would growl when we put a camera on him. He was one of the best actors we had. The dog suffered a lot. It was hot and they threw in the towel after a couple of takes and we had to bring out the other one.
"My future plans include a mini series on Lewis and Clark for HBO for next year."
Tracks is scheduled to open in DC on September 19.
Calendar of Events
American Film Institute Silver Theater
The popular series "Totally Awesome: Great Films of the 1980s" ends in September. Titles for this month are Foxes, Forbidden Zone, The Slumber Party Massacre, Personal Best, Down and Out in Beverly Hills, Ms. 45, Sidewalk Stories, Nothing Lasts Forever and Down By Law.
"Harold Ramis Remembered" looks at some of the great comic's films. A few titles remain in September for this series: National Lampoon's Vacation, Groundhog Day and a surprise screening TBA.
With 2014 being the 100th anniversary of the start of The Great War, the AFI presents a series "Cinema and the Great War." Titles remaining in September include The Blue Max, Westfront 1918, Comradeship, Regeneration, A Very Long Engagement and Joyeux Noel. Silent films with music accompaniment in September are Wings with music by Andrew Simpson and the silent version of All Quiet on the Western Front.
Alec Guiness was born in 1914 and this series ends in September. Titles remaining are Doctor Zhivago, Star Wars Episode IV, The Swan, A Passage to India, and Our Man in Havana..
Mario Brava, the Italian cinematographer/director worked mostly in the horror genre. The Mario Brava Centennial of films ends in September with Lisa and the Devil, Rabid Dogs, Planet of the Vampires and Shock.
"Action! The Films of Raoul Walsh Part III" ends in September. Titles are The Revolt of Mamie Stover, The King and Four Queens and Band of Angels.
"70mm Spectacular" shows films in 70mm. Just one more for September: Cheyenne Autumn.
Special events in September include To Be Takei about the Star Trek actor on September 2 and 4 at 7:30pm; and Stop Making Sense (1984), a concert film by Jonathan Demme on September 5 at 9:30pm and September 6 at 9:00pm.
The 25th AFI Latin American Film Festival showcases films mostly from Latin America but also from Spain and Portugal. The complete program is still to come, but a few titles to be shown are Seventh Floor from Argentina starring Ricardo Darin, Paradise from Mexico, Illiterate from Chile, All About the Feathers from Costa Rica, Gente de Bien from Colombia and The Crow's Nest from El Salvador.
Freer Gallery of Art
The Freer takes part in the DC China Film Festival with Old Dog (Pema Eseden, 2011) on September 4 at 7:00pm; Rock Me to the Moon (Huang Chia-Chun, 2013) on September 5 at 2:00pm and Stray Dogs (Tsai Ming-Liang, 2013) on September 5 at 7:00pm.
Titles for the ASEAN Film Festival are The Jungle School (Riro Riza, 2013) on September 7 at 1:00pm and The Missing Picture (Rithy Panh, 2013) on September 7 at 4:00pm.
"Dreams, Hallucinations, and Nightmares: The Films on Pen-Ek Ratanaruang" include Headshot (2002) on September 13 at 2:00pm with director Pen-Ek Ratanaruang in person; Monrak Transistor on September 14 at 2:00pm with Pen-Ek Ratanaruang in person; 6ixtynin9 (1999) on September 19 at 7:00pm; Last Life in the Universe (2003) on September 21 at 2:00pm; Invisible Waves (2006) on September 26 at 7:00pm; Ploy (2006) on September 28 at 1:00pm with director Pen-Ek Ratanaruang in person; and Nymph (2009) on September 28 at 3:30pm.
National Gallery of Art
While the East Building is being renovated, films are shown in the West Building and in other locations. Please check the locations for each show.
The series "A Sense of Time and Place: Peter von Bagh" is shown at both the West Building and the Portrait Gallery. Titles at the Portrait Gallery are Remembrance-A Small Movie about Oulu in the 1950s (2013) followed by Splinters-Century of an Artistic Family (2011) with director Peter von Bagh in person to introduce the films on September 6 at 2:00pm. On September 6 at 5:30pm is The Count (1971); on September 7 at 2:00pm is The Year 1939 (1993) and on September 7 at 4:30pm is The Last Summer 1944 (1992). At the West Building is Paavo Nurmi-The Man and His Times (1978) shown with Olavi Virta (1988) on September 20 at 2:30pm.
"American Originals Now-Jesse Lerner" consists of two programs, both in the West Building. On September 13 at 2:30pm is The Absent Stone (2012) with Jesse Lerner present to introduce the film. On September 14 at 4:00pm is Ruins (1999) with the filmmaker present for introductions.
Two films are shown at American University. On September 26 at 7:00pm is Journey to Italy (Roberto Rossellini, 1964) and on September 28 at 4:30pm is Il Sorpasso (Dino Risi, 1962).
Special events in September, all in the West Building include La Camioneta (Mark Kendall, 2013) on September 17 and September 19 at 1:00pm, Intimatta (Ramuntcho Matta, 2012) on September 21 at 4:00pm; and Daredevils (Stephanie Barber, 2013) on September 27 at 2:30pm.
Washington Jewish Community Center
On September 7 at 11:00am is Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice (Paul Mazursky, 1969); on September 9 at 7:30pm is The Gift to Stalin (Rustem Abdrashev, 2008) followed by a panel discussion; on September 14 at 11:00am is Life According to Agfa (Assi Dayan, 1992) from Israel; on September 16 at 7:30pm is Yentl (Barbra Streisand, 1983); on September 21 at 11:00am is The Lineup (Don Siegel, 1958); and on September 30 at 7:30pm is Run Boy Run (Pepe Danquart, 2013) based on the novel by Uri Orlev.
"Film Captures the Great War" is a series of films about WWI subjects. On September 15 at 6:30pm is Paths of Glory (Stanley Kubrick, 1958).
On September 10 at 6:00pm is Home from Home-Chronicle of a Vision (Edgar Reitz, 2013) about European immigrants to South America.
On September 29 at 6:30pm is Nosferatu (F.W. Murnau, 1922) with music accompaniment by Michael Obst.
On September 9 at 7:00pm is Love Like Poison (Katell Quillévéré, 2010), a coming of age story
The Japan Information and Culture Center
"Okinawa Culture and Spirit Project" is a celebration of the history and culture of the Okinawan islands. On September 2 at 6:00pm is a program of three short films: Indigo Love, The Path of Kumiodori and Mother of the Groom. On September 3 at 6:30pm is Karakara (Claude Gagnon, 2012). On September 5 at 6:30pm is Nabbie's Love (Yuji Nakae, 1999), an award-winning comedy. On September 9 at 6:30pm is a program of three short films: Goat-Walking, The Deer in Me and The Path of Kumiodori. On September 10 at 6:30pm is The Old Man and the Sea (John Junkerman, 1990), a documentary of a fisherman using traditional methods. See the website for more information and reservations.
On September 23 at 7:00pm is the 8th Annual Charles Guggenheim Tribute Program. D-Day Remembered (Charles Guggenheim, 1994) is an Oscar-nominated documentary about the invasion of Normandy. On September 25 at 7:00pm is Breath of Freedom (2014), about African Americans who fought in WWII. Discussion follows the screening. On September 26 at noon is Nicky's Family (Matej Minac, 2013), about Englishman Nicholas Winton who organized the rescue of Czech and Slovak children just before WWII.
National Museum of Natural History
On September 5 at 6:00pm is Aerial America: Wilderness, a documentary "aerial tour" of natural landscapes and national parks protected by the Wilderness Act of 1964. The filmmakers and wilderness experts will conduct a Q&A after the screening.
On September 10 at 7:00pm is Free Angela Davis and All Political Prisoners (Shola Lynch, 2012). The filmmaker and Angela Davis will discuss the film after the documentary.
On September 22 at 6:00pm is From Billions to None (2014), about the extinction of the passenger pigeon.
Interamerican Development Bank
On September 8 at 6:30pm is the DC premiere of the documentary Aluna (Alan Ereira, 2012), about the Kogi people of Colombia. They have no writing or the wheel but consider themselves guardians of the earth. Producer Jean-Paul Mertinez will introduce the film.
On September 3 at 8:00pm is the "Programmer's Choice" pick for September, The Last Sentence (Jan Troell, 2012) about Swedish journalist Torgny Segerstedt and his one-man battle against Nazism. On September 10 at 8:00pm is Her Aim Is True (Karen Whitehead), an award-winning documentary about a photographer of rock concerts. The filmmaker will be present for Q&A. On September 17 at 8:00pm is the "French Cinematheque" film for September Bicycling With Molière (Philippe Le Guay, 2013), a comedy starring Fabrice Luchini and Lambert Wilson and set on the Ile de Re. This month's "Reel Israel" film on September 23 at 8:00pm is Igor and the Crane's Journey (Evgeny Ruman, 2012) about an 11-year old who follows a crane's migration from Russia to Africa.
Anacostia Community Museum
On September 21 at 2:00pm is Celia the Queen (2009), an award-winning documentary about Cuban singer Celia Cruz. On September 27 at 2:00pm is The Pruitt-Igoe Myth (2011), a documentary about an urban housing project in St. Louis, Missouri. On September 28 at 2:00pm is The Return of Sara Baartman (2003), a historical documentary about the 19th century woman Sara Baartman whose body was considered abnormal. On September 29 at 11:00am is Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth (2014), a documentary about the life of the author, poet and activist. Discussion follows all the films.
On September 18 at 6:30pm is Some Like It Hot (Billy Wilder, 1959) starring Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon.
"Hollywood on the Potomac Returns" is a series of four 1980s films featuring Washington DC. On September 5 at 7:30pm is First Monday in October (1981), the only Hollywood feature focused on the Supreme Court; on September 12 at 7:30pm is D.C. Cab (1983); on September 19 at 7:30pm is No Way Out (1987), a spy movie with Kevin Costner. On September 26 at 7:30pm is Chances Are (1989) starring Robert Downey Jr. and Cybil Shepherd. All films will be introduced by Mike Canning, author of the book "Hollywood on the Potomac."
On September 19 at 7:00pm is Living Yoga: The Life and Teachings of Swami Satchidananda (Shiva Kumar), a documentary about yoga and its effects on society. Discussion follows the film.
Reel Affirmations XTra
On September 19 at 7:00pm and 9:15pm is Tru Love (Kate Johnston and Shauna MacDonald, 2013) Location: 1640 Rhode Island Avenue.
Busboys and Poets
On September 11 at 9:00pm is 9/11 The Anatomy of a Great Deception (David Hooper), a documentary about 9/11. At the 5th & K location.