Contemporary Arab Cinema October 21-31
Arabian Sights Film Festival
The 15th Annual Arabian Sights Film Festival kicks off Thursday, October 21 to present 11 of the newest, brightest, most exciting films from today’s Arab world. Running through Sunday, October 31, the Festival features captivating films from 6 Arab countries including Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Morocco, and the United Arab Emirates plus European co-productions and a feature by an American-Palestinian director.
The Arabian Sights Film Festival showcases films that demonstrate the range and commitment of directors who invariably manage to tell moving stories while exploring issues facing their region. The Arabian Sights Audience Award will be awarded to the film voted the most popular by the audience. All films in this series are Washington, DC premieres, two of which are American premieres, and have English subtitles.
Highlights include City of Life, the first full length feature film from the United Arab Emirates. Award-winning director Ali Mostafa, and star Yassin Alsalman aka The Narcicyst, will be present for Q&As following each screening. The October 23 screening of City of Life will be followed by a reception at the Goethe-Institut.
Kick Off, from Iraq, won the Grand Prize at both the Gulf and Taipei International Film Festivals and the International Film Critics Award in 2009. Both screenings will be followed by after parties catered by Zenobia Multicultural Café and presented with the Washington Film Institute.
Other highlights are the Egyptian film, One-Zero, a kaleidoscopic drama and winner of Best Arabic Film at the Muscat Film Festival. The Egyptian Cultural & Educational Bureau at the Embassy of Egypt will co-sponsor a special reception to follow the October 29 screening. Lebanese film, Stray Bullet, stars multiple award-winning filmmaker and actress Nadine Labaki, who wrote, starred, and directed the 2008 hit Caramel, as a young woman who cancels her wedding just days before the ceremony.
From Morocco, the energetic award-winning comedy The Barons: Birds of the Nile, from acclaimed Egyptian filmmaker Magdi Ahmed Ali, won Best Actor for Fathi Abdel Wahab at the Cairo International Film Festival. The Imperialists Are Still Alive!, an edgy, youthful film, was official selection at the Sundance Film Festival; Mohamed Al-Daradji’s Iraq: War, Love, God, and Madness, an intense documentary and official selection at both the Tribeca Film Festival and Rotterdam International Film Festival; Also by Mohamed Al-Daradji, Son of Babylon is Iraq’s submission to the Academy Awards©; Two shorts on Hip Hop and the contemporary Arab Diaspora, Phatwa and Stuck Between Iraq and a Hard Place, will be shown in a one-time screening on October 24 with a post-screening dialogue with star and Hip Hop artist, Yassin Alsalman aka The Narcicyst.
Tickets are $11.00 per person for each screening, unless otherwise noted. A Festival Pass is available, 10 tickets for a discounted rate of $95. This package does not include the October 23 screening of City of Life or the October 29 screening of One-Zero. Tickets may be purchased online through the Festival web site or Missiontix.com until midnight the day before the show; tickets are also available at the theater starting one hour before the first show of the day. Cash or check sales only at the theater.
Screenings will be held at the Goethe-Institut of Washington, 812 7th Street, NW. For more information call 202-234-3456 or visit the website.
Actor Edward Norton Discusses Stone
By Annette Graham, DC Film Society Member
After a special preview screening of Stone on October 4 at the AFI Silver Theater, actor Edward Norton answered audience questions and discussed the film with Nell Minow, the "Movie Mom" film reviewer and editor and co-founder of The Corporate Library. Stone was directed by John Curran and written by Angus MacLachlan; it stars Robert DeNiro as a corrections officer on the verge of retirement and Edward Norton as a prison inmate hoping to be paroled. While the two characters interact and intersect, the line between them begins to thin. The film opens in local theaters on October 15.
Edward Norton and Nell Minow at the screening. Photo thanks to Jay Berg.
Nell Minow: It's an honor to introduce you to Edward Norton. Thank you so much for being here and for that extraordinary performance. And we have to start off by talking about the cornrows. (everyone laughs) I think they're interesting because I know it takes a long time to put them in. So when I saw this character appear with the cornrows I first thought he must have some interaction with somebody in the prison, with a fellow prisoner who does that. What was it that created the idea of the cornrows?
Edward Norton: Up at the prison where we were working they were ubiquitous. They were everywhere, white guys, black guys, Latin guys. They were as common as tattoos and I think it's just part of the gear, the arm to armor, it's just one version of fierce up there. There was one guy in particular that was very compelling to me and to John Curran, the director. He had them; some days he had them in, some days he had them out. You're right, they pay; they are guys who make a business of tying people's braids. As was everything else about him and most of the language that came out of him, we absorbed it off the guys that we were meeting up there.
Nell Minow: Is that true of the body language also, because I thought that was really fascinating, the way you held yourself particularly in your meetings with [Robert] DeNiro seemed to me to be very unlike what I've seen you do in other roles and therefore very deliberate about that character.
Edward Norton: There was a quality in some of these guys that I would describe as intense anxiety. As people approach this process of getting assessed a lot of them told us they couldn't even sleep. It was incredibly existentially anxiety inducing. And a lot of the things that ended up in the scenes weren't really in the script in any way. One of the guys told us about how he at least once or twice had self-sabotaged, blown up and then gone out and screamed all those types of things we got off these guys. But apart from that, John's a really good director. What he says is worth a lot but he doesn't say too much. In the beginning when we were talking about the idea of the whole thing, he said that his view of the whole film was about a guy was here [at the top], another guy who was here [at the bottom] and they went like this [met in the middle]. I thought that was a very poetically simple kind of note that encapsulated the arc of the film very nicely and I think that to me on an emotional level it was about someone going from agitation to calm. John drew a very clear roadmap of that kind of stuff, but the shell of it, or the exterior of it, the voice of it, I did not have a good idea. We started shooting on a Monday and on the Wednesday before I was without a clue as to what I was going to do on Monday and I was feeling a little anxious myself about that--because I respect Robert DeNiro and thought it would be good to show up with some kind of idea. There was one prisoner I had been talking to for a while, and he was an interesting guy and he had a lot to offer but he wasn't what I thought I wanted to channel. On a Wednesday morning he said to me, "I know who you want to talk to. I finally get it." He'd read the script. "I know who you need to see." He had this other guy brought out and when that guy walked in, it was almost the whole package for me. He was very much everything you see there. I had John interrupted in what he was doing and brought over to meet the guy for a while and as we walked out, John said, "If you can get 50% of that it would be great." I'm not exaggerating, he supplied us with 60% of the language. He said all those strange and hilarious things about vegetarians and aliens. These were all phrases that he used. He was very very helpful.
Nell Minow: It's interesting that you talked about the two of them going up and down against each other. They had so many parallels in terms of their relations with their wives and the feeling of being in prison; there were a lot of connections there. This is the second time you acted with Robert DeNiro. I think of the two of you as having a different kind of process in the way that you approach what you do. And Milla Jovovich also comes from a very different background. Did the three of you sit down together and talk about how you were creating the characters or did you let the director run interference between you, or how did that work?
Edward Norton: No. John and I were involved before Milla. John and I worked on the script for a whole spring. I've noticed that people project a lot onto DeNiro because they associate him with a certain kind of intensity or nonverbalness. I hear people use words like instinctual. It couldn't be further from my view of his processes which is similar to my own. He's the most right-brained, clinical. Robert DeNiro is like the librarian of actors. He's like the clinician, methodical, note-taking, research. It's not a lot of head down in the corner, calling up his memories of his mother with him. It's very studious, very clinical, very research-oriented. As many great actors do, somewhere in there, he pushes it through this membrane of himself, and this thing emerges that is more poetic than that. But I associate working with him with a kind of meticulousness and I relate to that a lot. I think there are phases of the process. And that's one phase. That's the outside in phase and then there's the inside out phase and I think he's very intense about that first phase. We were really comfortable with each other; we've known each other a long time, we've worked together before. He knows me really well. I think that on this, we didn't want to over-rehearse it and apart from the fact that I was terminally unprepared and so there was nothing really I could have brought to rehearsal. I think he was very disinclined to see what I was planning to do until we started and actually John set the first scene between them, he rolled and I came in and it was the first time that we interacted with that character at all and we both thought that was golden I loved working like that. We knocked off all the scenes in the office in about seven consecutive days and then we were done. It was a great way to work.
Question from Audience: Are you interested in doing more theater? Did you have a collaborative process with Angus [MacLachlan] to work on the character?
Edward Norton: My whole grounding and training is in theater; professionally that is what I did for a long time before I worked in film. I'm always looking for a good play. They're not easy to come by. I'm still very involved in the same theater company I started off with in New York. The Signature Theater is a big part of my life in New York still. Angus wrote Stone as a play and sort of adapated it himself. It was possessed of many of the same themes and qualities. But it was very different than the film ended up being. It was set in the South, it was just different. There were many things that weren't in the film, lots of structural things, many specific things, like the murder that Stone witnesses, none of that was in Angus' script. I think what the film became was a blend of some of Angus' impulses and then John Curran's impulses to change the palette of it very substantially. John was very focused on wanting to make the movie in Detroit. He had ideas about the themes of sound and making them very explicit, things like the radio talk show host overlay. There was an expansiveness of the scale that John wanted to chase. I think Angus wrote this very strange compelling thing and he handed the baton to John and then John ran with it in his own directions and we all came in at the back phase of that.
Question from Audience: I couldn't help thinking about Kirkegaard, the religious philosopher and his ideas about savage worshipping and idols having truer faith than a so-called Christian dozing off in church. That in order to come close to God you have to silence the noise of the world, come to a crisis and then suddenly make that leap of faith. I think your character is really trying to help him, consciously or unconsciously, by the burning... to bring him to that leap across the abyss so that he could find God at the very last moment when he's looking up.
Edward Norton: I think you just made John Curran very happy and he doesn't know why. (laughter) I'm going to take everything you just said and borrow it anytime anyone asks me about this film. I think that's a terrific deconstruction. I don't know how many of you have seen John's other films, We Don't Live Here Anymore and The Painted Veil but I've thought many times working with John and looking at his films, that Ingmar Bergman would really like John's films. You mentioned Kirkegaard. I think of Bergman and Scenes from a Marriage. There are not a lot of filmmakers today that have the courage to leave as many questions hanging over a film and as many gray areas in a film. I think it's a great compliment to an audience to leave a lot for people to interpret through the lens of their own experience, to not have to struggle out carrying someone's imposed view of a set of subjects as complex as are in this film. The films that made a dent on my own head are almost uniformly ones that leave a lot of room for very diverse intrepretation or a lot of ambuity. It's one of the things I really appreciate about John. He makes authentically grown up films and doesn't capitulate to the kind of desire that comes into directors where they want the audience to like them, whether they know it or not. They want the easy affirmation that comes from people having an instant understanding of what they were trying to say. It takes a lot of nerve to leave an audience feeling unsettled on certain questions. And he has that quality which sets him way above the field, in my view.
Question from Audience: You directed Keeping the Faith. As an actor going from acting to directing, what is the most difficult thing that you came across?
Edward Norton: Annoying actors who won't get out of their trailer and come to the set. (Laughter)
Nell Minow: Ben Stiller is such a diva!
Edward Norton: Ben was great. He's an actor who has directed, so he already knows about that. When you direct you have to stay a little more in your right brain and outside the whole thing than you do if you are acting exclusively. You have the freedom from the responsibility of all that goes into a day on a film. Hitchcock's line that directing is getting pecked to death by a thousand pigeons comes to mind because that's what you deal with. A film set is already designed to destroy good acting. So, when you're actually wearing the hat of a director, you are really up against it in terms of focus or staying in the head of it. That's why I felt happy to do a lighter toned role the first time I directed. I would not have wanted to have directed Stone and played that role the first time out. I think that would have been very challenging. There are some things--you want to get in the car in the morning. The character is like a car. You want to get in, turned it on and drive it for the rest of the day and not get out of it and stay in it. I have a lot of admiration for people like Orson Welles and people who did monumental characters while directing. It's not easy.
Question from Audience: What is the difference between working with DeNiro on this film versus working with him on Score?
Edward Norton: In the most basic sense, the drama in that other film is very plot-driven. Score is a heist film. It was a lot of fun. We had a good time and genre can be fun, but a lot of the drama is the drama of the plot in that film. It's the plot puzzle. This one was entirely a dramatic tension formed by the parry of conversations. When I imagined how great it would be to work with DeNiro, I hoped I would get to do a film like this one at some point. He showed up with his A game on in this one. I think he had a deep interest in exploring what was in this for him, a person hitting a certain point in life. I think this was closer to the bone for him. What he brought to it was pretty extraordinary. I got a deep satisfaction working on this one with him. It was fun working on the other one. This was like finding your way through thick woods of material. It was more challenging and more satisfying.
Question from Audience: This movie has such a different tone and speech from your other movies. Is that a challenge for you?
Edward Norton: I'm a lot happier if I can find someone else's skin to slip away into. If I start getting close to a movie and haven't figured out how to say bye-bye to me then I start getting very uncomfortable. I don't think ME has any place in this film. John said to me in the beginning to me, "I don't have a very clear bead on the character but I want him to be from urban Detroit, from the margins of Detroit specifically and I want to look at him sitting in the chair the first time and when he opens his mouth I want to think, 'This is not a strong candidate for a spiritual transformation'." As always with John, vague but very interesting. He was highlighting something that is very apt. This story is much much stranger and more interesting if the place that you perceive that person is very different by the end of the film. That was a cue to me to swing hard at how out there he is in the beginning. The language and vernacular, the way the guy talks, was almost handed to me on a platter by this one guy and I think for me it was a huge relief. Even the guy's voice was like that, it sounded like he had swallowed a wine glass, it was one of the strangest things. I think that when you can find a great costume, or the skin of something and slide into it it's great. Then you're in a car, now I've got it, I can take this anywhere, someone can say anything to me and I can just live in it. John and I kept a legal pad full of all the things that we had taken off the tapes with these guys. We kept snickering in a corner looking for a place to put "two pumps and a swirl." Everything the guy said was golden, we had to get that in. There's an unconscious thing when we all watch movies. When someone's talking and you're not understanding 60% of it, it makes you feel you're behind the film in a great way because it immediately authenticates the world in your head. It probably means he is really coming out of that environment. That's where language can be great. There were interesting learning experiences. John and I are white kids from the suburbs and we weren't thinking about what happens when you take cornrows out of your hair. We had this idea that we would do this quick thing and change and shoot a scene in the yard when he doesn't have them. This lady who did them for me in salon in Detroit, said, "You know you're going to need some time." Why? Just take them out. And she said, "Good luck with that." When we took them out, I looked like Gene Wilder in Young Frankenstein. (everyone laughs). Just when you think you own it the artifice shows up and bites you on the ass.
Stone opens in area theaters on October 15.
Q&A with Director Zack Snyder Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'hoole
By Anita Glick, DC Film Society Member
A preview screening of Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'hoole was held September 14 at AMC's Mazza Gallerie. Special guests Zack Snyder, director of the film, and Bob Mondello, NPR film critic and commentator discussed the film after the screening and took audience questions. A number of children were in the audience and they took part in the Q&A also.
Zack Snyder, Director of Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'hoole with some young fans at the screening.
Acclaimed filmmaker, screenwriter and producer Zack Snyder makes his animation debut with Legend of the Guardians, based on books by Kathryn Lasky. Snyder made his feature film debut with the remake Dawn of the Dead (2004), scored a box office hit with 300 (2007), and his film Watchmen (2009) made $25,153,000 on its first day. Bob Mondello is film critic and commentator for NPR's award-winning newsmagazine All Things Considered. Mondello has written about the arts for such diverse publications as USA Today, The Washington Post, and Preservation Magazine. NFL linebacker, education activist and philanthropist Chris Draft, introduced the movie. He told the audience to use their imagination and have fun with the film. People attending the screening were asked to bring a children’s’ book to be donated to Reading Is Fundamental. RIF programs distribute more than 16 million books a year to children who need them.
Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole is based on the first three books of the (fifteen book) young adult fantasy series by Kathryn Lasky. Soren is the main protagonist. He has two siblings, a wife and three young chicks.
Bob Mondello: Mr. Snyder made some pictures before this that are even scarier for adults so he’s really good at that but this is his first children’s picture.
Zack Snyder: The honest truth is I made the movie only because I had seen some artwork that had been done and I said, “What’s that from?” and they said, "That’s from this series of books by Kathryn Lasky about owls. Would you be interested in that?" I said, "Those are pretty cool paintings" and they said, "Would you?" I said maybe, maybe I would. We got talking and I ended up being into the idea and we ended up making the movie. I have to tell you, I always think about projects; this one is for adults this one is for kid, this one is a comic book; this one is a novel, or whatever.
Bob Mondello: Do you have kids?
Zack Snyder: Yeah!
Bob Mondello: And do you read these stories to them?
Zack Snyder: I have six kids and my youngest is ten so when I started the project three years ago, he was seven. So I have a ten year old, a twelve year old, two thirteen year olds, a fifteen year old and a seventeen year old. They actually saw the movie as I was making it. They saw it a lot.
Bob Mondello: I have a pretty good idea what a director does when he is dealing with actors. I don’t have a very good idea what a director does when he is dealing with animated owls. Tell me.
Zack Snyder:I would make a drawing; in live action movies I draw the frames, sort of line by line as we do it. That becomes the blueprint for the movie along with the script. In the case of an animated movie, I will draw a frame, then I would give it over to the animators, they would draw it and turn it into a storyboard that moves a little bit, then from there if we liked it we would make a more complicated CD version of it that moves even more, and then from there we would add scratch voice. Next, we have an actor read a line of dialogue and put it over the frame. Finally we have Jim Sturgess (the voice of Soren, the owl who is kidnapped), read the first pass through every scene in the entire script with a reader. Then he does it three or four more times. Once we have the dialogue in, the animator starts animating to the dialogue, the next step is we go to layout which is more complicated, then we go to animation and then final lighting and then we have a picture.
Bob Mondello: When there is a swooping shot, how do you tell somebody how to do that?
Zack Snyder: That became a process once the animators understood my language. For example, we are on Soren – I would do a quick sketch or I would describe – he’s going to get knocked down to the tree – or I would do a two frame drawing.
Bob Mondello: You do a shot I just love. Everything is zooming along, really fast, all of a sudden it goes into slow motion. The first time is in the beginning of the movie with the feather. You do it all through the big battle scenes. That’s a really cool effect. Why do you do it?
Zack Snyder: 3-D is awesome for movies but it’s not great for cutting and action. You can’t cut super fast with it because it gets lost. Let’s just re-time this shot so we can see who the characters are and then we’ll go back – it won’t bug you out – but you can stay in the moment.
Bob Mondello: In one of your other movies called Watchmen there is a character named Nite Owl. Did you have any thoughts of giving him a cameo in this movie?
Zack Snyder: There is a Nite Owl cameo in the movie when they are grabbing the helmets off. One of those is the Nite Owl’s. The guys just added that without asking me.
Bob Mondello: Does this happen a lot in these movies?
Zack Snyder: Not that often but there was another weird thing we did. I kept saying that the movie was like The Planet of the Apes and that humans were gone. Owls now were the intelligent life on earth and somehow humans had been extinct for thousands of years. In one of the shots at the beginning of the movie Claude said, “Go to sleep Soren, you need to have your dreams in your sleep, our dreams are who we are” and they snuggle down. Then there is a wide shot of the moon rising and in that shot there is the Statue of Liberty down low in the frame covered with ivy if you look carefully. So the guys put that in there because they kept seeing it as Planet of the Apes.
Bob Mondello: Let’s open this to the audience. Does anyone have a question?
Question from Audience: How did you think of the names of the owls?
Zack Snyder: That’s easy because I did not think of them. Kathryn Lasky named these characters. Kathryn is the author of the books. So all these characters were named by her. Is that cool?
Question from Audience: What is a gizzard?
Zack Snyder: A gizzard is the area of an owl’s anatomy where they initially digest their food. It is where the bones and fur go and they crush it up and then they expel it as a pellet. I should have brought a pellet for you to see.
Question from Audience: Was there an effort to represent the different types of owls or make this thing correct from an anatomical point of view?
Zack Snyder: Absolutely! 100%! When Kathryn set out to write these books she was basically writing a science book about owls. And she is a naturalist - so she ended up writing this crazy other story and they all started talking to each other and had a culture. When we made the movie we really did strive to make the anatomy of the owls correct in the way they fly and move and the different breeds of owls that are represented in the book.
Question from Audience: Did you consider dealing with education (about owls) vs. entertainment in the film?
Zack Snyder: I felt it was more casual.
Question from Audience: Directors who move from live action to animation have reported having difficulty with that transition. But you obviously, in your last couple of films, started with the comic book medium. Do you think that helped you with the transition?
Zack Snyder: Yes, I think so, because of the way I work and draw. I like shots and stuff like that. I said to the animators at the beginning of the project, "Look I am not an animator and I don’t know what you guys do exactly. But I’ll tell you what I do” and I gave them this little book. They created this little bible, actually, with all my likes and dislikes. They were really strict with it like the use of lenses and other things and it ended up they really did what I like. I like 35mm so whenever there was a default they put a 35mm on the virtual camera. I tried to learn what they needed from me.
Question from Audience: Did you change the books for the movie?
Zack Snyder: Basically, we tried to crush the three books into one movie, so you may have to take something out to get to another part and then you have to add something to reach those changes that you want to make. There are little things all along the way that we added or subtracted to try to get all those three books into one movie.
Question from Audience: Do the helmets protect the owls.
Zack Snyder: Correct! They protect their faces and their heads. Also they look cool.
Question from Audience: Did you feel pressure to make this in 3D?
Zack Snyder: We have been working on the movie for about three years. It has been in 3D since we conceived it. Yes, there has been pressure lately to up the ante with 3D but we always saw this as a 3D movie.
Question: Does it take longer to make it in 3D?
Zack Snyder: It did take a little bit longer because you have to color the movie twice. When you set the color it does not transfer exactly to the 3D so you have to go through both. So it took a little bit longer, but if you have the pipeline set up it is not dramatically longer.
Bob Mondello: Is anything we are seeing on the screen photographed? The tree? Anything?
Zack Snyder: No, nothing is photographed. It is all built into the computer.
Question from Audience: Is there going to be a sequel?
Zack Snyder: Well, there are fifteen books. That’s three of them. I don’t know.
Question from Audience: How many times did you read the books?
Zack Snyder: I read the books once. Then you go back and mark little areas. Probably over time I read them a couple more times. I did not make a conscious effort to read them again and again. I also talked to Kathryn about it if we were going to make a change or things like that.
Question from Audience: What is your favorite scene?
Zack Snyder: I guess for me, my favorite scene is probably when Soren flies in the rain. I dig that! My thirteen year old son tries to be cool. He said, “Dad, that is pretty inspirational.”
Question from Audience: I'm a reading teacher and always telling the kids in my class (when you’re reading) to visualize in your mind what you are reading. Is that how you visualized it with those kind of owls or was it more of a generic owl?
Zack Snyder: Kathryn describes the actual breeds of owls in the book. So for instance, all the owls that are represented in the book (the actual breeds of owls) are the owls that Kathryn identifies. All the title owls are barn owls so those are all represented as barn owls. Those are each of the species.
Question from Audience: Do owls make good pets?
Zack Snyder: I don’t think owls make good pets. I know they are cute but ‘you know’ ....
Bob Mondello: How did you go about casting the voices?
Zack Snyder: First of all the movie was made in Sydney, Australia at a company which had worked on previous movies of mine. They had done Happy Feet, so they had a lot of experience and we were getting a rebate from the Australian government to shoot the movie there, which is just part of production. So, out of respect, we started to hire the Australian actors. We ended up with this awesome cast of Australian actors. Then I said, why not just make Australian the native language of the owls. Then Jim Sturgess (as Soren) had to do an Australian accent.
Question from Audience: Who is your favorite owl?
Zack Snyder: I guess Ezylryb is. Just because Jeffrey (Rush) is so crazy awesome that it’s hard. He is so cool.
Question from Audience: Do you have to learn about owls?
Zack Snyder: You do have to learn about owls. When you make your owl movie, make sure that you study the owls. We shot a lot of photography. We went to a lot of zoos and filmed owls walking around. The one thing we found with the owls (and birds in general) is that the more realistic the bird movement is (and birds have a cold way about them)--when they are like eating, when they are just existing--they do not ponder stuff, they act immediately on things. So, we wanted to combine realistic bird movement with more human expressive movement.
Question from Audience: What was your favorite part of making the movie?
Zack Snyder: It was two-fold. I liked working with Helen Mirren and Geoffrey Rush, Academy Award winning actors. That is just fun and they are just good. It is a great movie to lens and to shoot. I know that may sound weird because it is animated but in the context of creating the shoots it was really fun and satisfying.
Question from Audience: What caused their eyes to be white?
Zack Snyder: The moon-blinked owls' eyes were white because we needed a visual metaphor to show that they were kind of ‘zombified’. I don’t know if you were actually moon-blinked that your eyes would turn white, but we tried to use that to sell the idea that their soul had somehow been drained by the moon.
Following the screening Mr. Snyder was extremely gracious. He signed autographs and posed for photos with the audience.
Zack Snyder is currently producing a film called Sucker Punch, which is scheduled for release on March 25, 2011. The movie is based on an original script, written by Snyder and Steve Shibuya, about an insane young woman in a mental hospital who fantasizes of escape with her fellow inmates.
Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'hoole is currently playing in DC area theaters, on IMAX screens and 3-D in some theaters.
Jack Goes Boating; Q&A with Actress Amy Ryan
By Annette Graham and Anita Glick, DC Film Society Members
A preview screening of Jack Goes Boating was held at the AFI Silver Theater on September 22. Special guest Amy Ryan discussed the film and answered audience questions; Blake Robison, Producing Artistic Director of the Round House Theater moderated. Amy Ryan earned rave reviews and received the SAG, Golden Globe, and Oscar best supporting actress nomination for her 2007 performance in Gone Baby Gone. Additionally, Ryan has achieved major success on the Broadway stage and television. Since his arrival six years ago, Blake Robison has launched the Round House Theater's Literary WorksProject, re-envisioned its educational programming, created the artist laboratory The Kitchen, and commissioned new works from exciting up and coming playwrights.
Blake Robison: I learned just now that DC audiences may have seen you act before that. Tell us what that was.
Amy Ryan: 2004 in the Kennedy Center in Streetcar Named Desire.
Blake Robison: There's a long list of credits here, I suppose most of these people already know about: Capote, Changeling, Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, and of course Gone Baby Gone, your wonderful Oscar nominated turn. But what I know is that you're also a very experienced stage actress. Streetcar Named Desire led to a Tony nomination I believe and there's one other as well, is that right?
Amy Ryan: Uncle Vanya.
Blake Robison: You're also a New Yorker.
Amy Ryan: I am. I was born and raised in Queens and I still live in Manhattan now.
Blake Robison: One thing I've noticed, having lived for a while in New York is that it is filled with wonderful locations and scenes, so as a New Yorker in some ways it's a love letter to a certain class of people who live in New York, people we may be in contact with and may not be in contact with. How did you get into the role? Did it help to have that background as you worked on the role?
Amy Ryan: I suppose it must have just because I use influences along the way whether they're my own or things I observe. I went to the high school of performing arts in the city and I remember my first acting teacher just said, "Watch every one and everything that you possibly can, steal from everyone that you can." I feel like the characters in this film are the New Yorkers that we all too easily dismiss or don't pay attention to because they seem ordinary. But I love that this film has taken the 90 minutes to show us that their lives are as complicated and complex and as beautiful as some of the glossier characters we see depicted in other movies filmed in NY.
Blake Robison: Tell us a little about how you got involved with this. You worked with Philip Seymour Hoffman in Capote, is that right?
Amy Ryan: Yes, I played Marie Dewey in Capote who befriends Truman Capote in Kansas and invites him over to dinner. But Phil and I knew each other from New York, actually in theater we both did one-act plays for the drama department. So we've been in and around each other's lives over the years. And then it was about a year before we started to film this Phil asked me to be a part of it. And he said, We have two weeks we need winter in New York. Could you wait for us?" Yes, Phil is someone I'd wait forever for.
Blake Robison: Some people know that this story started off as a stage play. Bob Glaudini wrote it as a play that was produced by the LAByrinth Theater Company in New York City. And that is a theater company that at the time was run by Phil and John Ortiz.
Amy Ryan: That's right. John founded it and then he and Phil together were co-artistic directors. They've just handed over the reins to some other people as their careers are getting busier and busier. But they're still very much a part of the theater company.
Blake Robison: Did you see the play?
Amy Ryan: I didn't. I remember when it was on. And I think at the time I was working, I couldn't get to it, I couldn't get a ticket. Once we started, we did a two-week rehearsal process on this before we shot anything here. And I remember there were days I was stuck because Connie was so odd to me. How could someone so painfully shy have such an open fantasy, this odd vocabulary to describe things. I couldn't figure it out and kept wondering what the actress did in the play. And then Daphne [Rubin-Vega] was complaining, "I wish I hadn't done the play because I'm stuck. I want to do it the way I did it on stage." And it's two very different beasts.
Blake Robison: Two weeks doesn't sound like a whole lot time to rehearse, even to me.
Amy Ryan: For film it's extraordinary.
Blake Robison: How much do you normally get?
Amy Ryan: In theater you get 4 weeks and then you get a week of technical rehearsal. And in film usually you get a table read, if that. Even in the case of Changeling when you work with someone like Clint Eastwood you get no rehearsal and sometimes he films the first take and moves on. So you really need to have your homework done well before you arrive. But in this case Phil really wanted to have that rehearsal process because obviously he wouldn't have the time to explore as much as he's directing.
Blake Robison: Because he's filling both the director and actor role. Was that odd for you. Have you ever been in that situation before?
Amy Ryan: No. I've worked with actor-directors but never when they're in the scene with me. I wouldn't say it was odd. It was different but I didn't find it disconcerting. It was probably more focused. The rest of us didn't goof off as much. We knew we had to keep it together for Phil because he was so exhausted and he had to stay laser-focused.
Blake Robison: A number of people also know you from your turn on the TV show The Office. You were in the season four finale. Should we expect to see you on TV anytime soon?
Amy Ryan: Yes, I'm going to go back. I really couldn't resist to have one last laugh with Steve Carell before he leaves. It's really a fun place to work.
Blake Robison: A scary place, but a fun place I would imagine.
Amy Ryan: They tape that show with two cameras that are hand-held and it's their own choreographed dance--the cameramen are really part of the cast as well. One of my first days I laughed so hard just at a word that Steve said which was looky loo. I couldn't stop laughing; I just cried my makeup off--the kind of cathartic laugh--laughter into tears--silent tears streaming down my face. It's really as fun. I love it.
Blake Robison: The comedy in this movie is of a very different kind obviously from something like The Office. It's very character based. It grows out of the situations the characters are in and their particular personalities. Although as you can hear there was a wonderful response from the audience. Do you think of that when you're working on the scene or do you just try to play it straight and let people take it however they will?
Amy Ryan: I try to play it straight. I think the rule in comedy, I'll paraphrase, it's "Don't ask for the laugh, ask for the ham sandwich." I try to play the gravity of the scene, the seriousness of it. Because it is life and death for these people. It's funny to us to watch that horrible first day but I doubt any of us would really want to go through it. I know I wouldn't. I'm happy to represent Connie in that scene, but I'm glad that never happened to me.
Question from Audience. Thanks for an excellent performance. You're talking about people in New York. you're shooting in New York, shooting a comedy, people with neuroses. Is the ghost of Woody Allen around? Is he talked about as you're going through this? Any other influence? Predominantly I thought of Woody Allen and this is a 21st century improvement.
Amy Ryan: We didn't discuss those influences. I know for myself that when I'm in a story it becomes almost very narrow minded that this is the only person this has ever happened to. I wouldn't have the guts to emulate any of the characters in a Woody Allen movie, that I grew up admiring so much. No, I think that's just New Yorkers.
Question: As it was being shot was there any discussion about this outdoing Woody Allen?
Amy Ryan: No.
Question from Audience: What is your favorite part about film acting and your favorite part about stage acting, because they're so different.
Amy Ryan: My favorite thing about stage acting is this intimate dialogue with an audience--1,000 people or 200 people that you've never met before. But there's this real energy that happens in the dark. I feel a little shy now because I can see you all. But when you're on stage you can feel people but you can't see them. And that's a thrill. Everyone is in on the story; it will take you there but it's for you. And it's immediate. And that's a thrill like no other. And film acting--I think it's the thrill of sharing the story with a larger audience but the process is so miniscule. Like how to get it through this small quiet room with four actors and a crew and it goes through this lens and it reaches more people. I know that sounds super corny. But it's a different intimacy. And also even though we did get to rehearse this film, I always thought it was important to do plays in my career when I was younger because I thought theater is where I'll learn to be a better actor and then film is where I can apply what I've learned. Because I knew there wouldn't be time, although we did get to rehearse this one. But usually you get thrown into it.
Question: I thought I saw advertised on TV you have a role in the show In Treatment?
Amy Ryan: Yes, this fall I'm going to play Gabriel Byrne's new therapist for the next season.
Blake Robison: Actors talk about being in the moment all the time. Certainly when you're in a stage play that's something that everyone is trying to find every night so that there's spontaneity and there's talking and listening between the actors. How is that different as you described when you're in a small room with just these cameras and sometimes you might only be shooting a brief 7-10 second segment of a scene. How do you apply that? You talked about applying the lessons from one form to the other.
Amy Ryan: I always to use the same rules. I go through the script, I ask the same questions, why is my character in the story why is she in this scene, what does she want from this scene, what does she want from this person. I apply all those same questions. It's not that different; it's being in a place that you're so relaxed and you know the character so well, there's no need to improvise. In a film if you're that open to be reactive and active to what may come at you and if that happens with a change of dialogue or something your other actor did, it doesn't have to be so rehearsed and choreographed. It's just about being open.
Question from Audience: In this film the women were more sexual beings as opposed to the men. How did you approach the Metro attack and the love making scene where your character said, "Take me."
Amy Ryan: People have asked before. At Sundance someone asked what happened to her. I said she wasn't attacked sexually in her life as a child. Her neuroses come from being single in New York and in her 40s. And that's enough to have enough fear to be afraid to open yourself up to a potential date. Connie is one of those people like the Charlie Brown character with a cloud over his head. Like that attack that happens on the subway, things just happen to her. I know people like that. You ask how many times can people draw the short straw. I think what is so powerful about the scene at the end is that she says "don't hurt me." She's very firm. She says, "Overcome me." I think of the line earlier that Clyde says about Connie, "She's one of those--things go on in the mind." I think Connie thinks too much; she gets in her own way. But when she says "overcome me," it's not rape me, hold me down, it's stop me from thinking, just take me away. She worked so hard to build up her fantasy I want it to be by the lake, and I want it to be a sunny day, all this control. The point is just take me away from that. Don't hurt me, just take me away from that. And she finally met someone she can trust to do that. Even though it's a sexual scene, I think it's more about trust.
Blake Robison: It strikes me that if the female characters in this film are in fact more overtly sexual on screen in the scenes that we see, they're also stronger characters in a way. A lot of the film is your character drawing Philip Seymour Hoffman's character out of himself, inspiring him to self improvement and various other things. And that scene at the end he needs not only permission to take you, but the directive to do so. Daphne's character is a very different person, there's a similar kind of strength there. Is this the kind of thing that gets discussed in the two-week rehearsal? I'm fascinated by the time around the table, what you bring to the process on your own and what really gets explored in the short amount of time that you had to prepare.
Amy Ryan: It's hard to speak for John and Daphne, what their process went through. But as for Daphne's character, she's above Clyde in terms of determination and she's more motivated in her career. I knew they talked a lot about character back stories, like who has the lease on the apartment. They decided Daphne does because that's the power shift. In New York I have friends who have rent-controlled apartments, they are married, they have children together but they still won't give up that apartment just in case something doesn't go so well.
Blake Robison: We used to say, "A good job, a good relationship and a good apartment." But in New York you can only have two of the three.
Amy Ryan: What a grim life. I love it! (everyone laughs). I don't remember the women's sexuality being a theme of the movie, as much as I remember love being the theme and one love growing while the other is deteriorating. I actually find that scene so painful to watch where Clyde is trying to ignite something with Lucy when she's there in her underwear and she could care less. She's so out of that relationship in her heart, soul and body. I find it painful to watch, not sexual, I find it sad that their marriage is definitely over.
Blake Robison: Tell us a little about Bob Glaudini who wrote the play; he wrote the screenplay as well?
Amy Ryan: Yes.
Blake Robison: That's unusual as it is. So many playwrights sell their property to a film studio and then it gets taken away and rewritten by eight other people and turns into something entirely different than what they intended. That's obviously not the case here.
Amy Ryan: Bob is a LAByrinth company member as well and I think it was smart for a first Hollywood endeavor to stay close to people like Philip Seymour Hoffman and John Ortiz. John is a great instigator. He was the one who just turned to Phil one day and said, "You should direct this." He plants seeds. Phil said, "No I couldn't do it, I couldn't play the part and direct it" and then as he tells the story, suddenly he can't stop thinking about it. He sees the film cinematically and sometimes on stage they even thought certain scenes were more cinematic. But back to Bob, He's a real aloof quiet guy. I would ask him a lot [of questions]. He would go, "I don't know." He just had this Cheshire cat smile. He has real patience with actors. This is his world, this is New York, he knows these people. But he loves and respects actors enough to let them find it without keeping a strong imprint of his own thumb on it.
Blake Robison: Was he around a lot during the shoot?
Amy Ryan: Yes, Phil relied on him heavily, just to keep that extra eye out for someone who knows the piece in and out better than maybe even Phil does. Just to make sure it was on course and the right tone.
Blake Robison: Thank you.
Jack Goes Boating is currently playing in DC area theaters.
Calendar of Events
American Film Institute Silver Theater
The AFI's Latin American Film Festival runs from September 21 through October 13. Now in its 21st year, this festival features films from Latin America and includes films from Spain and Portugal. More than 30 films will be seen including award winners, international film festival favorites and debuts by promising new directors. See the AFI web site for a complete list of titles. Films remaining in October include Tropic of Blood from the Dominican Republic, Memories of Overdevelopment from Cuba, Carancho from Argentina, a program of short films by Miguel Gomes, and lots more.
"Noir City DC: The 2010 Film Noir Festival" is back, bigger and better than ever, with 16 noir films, some well-known, others obscure. Titles include Border Incident, Stranger on the Third Floor, Vertigo, Criss Cross, Act of Violence, Highway 301, Scarlet Street, The Killing, Pushover, Cry Danger, Pitfazll, Cry Terror, Nightfall, The Night of the Hunter, Julie and The Steel Trap. The series starts October 16 and ends November 3.
The "DC Labor FilmFest," October 15-20 celebrates the work and workers of the global economy. Titles include Louise-Michel from France, Gigante from Uruguay, Fast Food Nation, The Office, Fair Game and The Informant! from the USA, and The Maid from Chile.
For Halloween, the AFI shows Let the Right One In, Tucker and Dale vs. Evil, Suspiria, Dawn of the Dead, Shaun of the Dead and the great silent classic Nosferatu with live music by the Silent Orchestra.
The Silent Orchestra will also accompany Salome (1923) on October 29.
The "Kids Euro Festival 2010" is a three-part series of award-winning films from Germany and the Czech Republic. Titles are Krabat, Hands Off Mississippi and the animated In the Attic: Who Has a Birthday Today?.
Freer Gallery of Art
"Hanoi on Film: Then and Now" is a short series in honor of the millennium anniversary of Hanoi's past and present. On October 1 at 7:00pm is Adrift (Chuyen Bui Thac, 2009); on October 2 at 2:00pm is The Little Girl of Hanoi (Hai Ninh, 1974); and on October 3 at 2:00pm is The Guava House (Dang Nhat Minh, 2000).
"Southeast Asia Visions" presents the work of four creative and dynamic filmmakers from Southeast Asia. On October 8 at 7:00pm is At the End of Daybreak (Ho Yuhang, 2009) from Malaysia; on October 31 at 1:00pm is Mundane History (Anocha Suwichakornpong, 2009) from Thailand; on October 31 at 3:00pm is Here (Ho Tzu Nyen, 2009) from Singapore; and on November 5 at 7:00pm is The Rainbow Troops (Riri Riza, 2008) from Indonesia.
The Freer also hosts several films in the DC Asian Pacific American Film Festival. On October 9 at 1:00pm is Resilience about adoption of Korean children; on October 9 at 3:00pm is Going Home, an autobiographic film by Korean adoptee Jason Hoffman; and on October 9 at 4:45pm is a panel discussion about Korean adoption, birth search and reunion from a mother-child perspective.
National Gallery of Art
To accompany the Gallery's exhibit of drawings by Edvard Munch is the series "Figures in a Landscape: Nature and Narrative in Norway." On October 2 at 4:30pm is The Growth of the Soil (Gunnar Sommerfeldt, 1921) preceded by the short film A Tale of Harvest (Aleksandra Niemczyk and Ola Moen, 2010). On October 3 at 4:30pm is The Bride of Glomdal (Carl Theodore Dreyer, 1926) preceded by the short film The Dangers of a Fisherman's Life (1908). The program will be introduced by Jan Erik Holst and Andrew Simpson will accompany the films on piano. On October 8 at 2:00pm is Gypsy (Tancred Ibsen, 1937) shown with Cold Tracks (Arne Skouen, 1962). On October 9 at 2:00pm is Nine Lives (Arne Skouen, 1957), a true story of Jan Baalsrud, a Norwegian resistance fighter who escaped from the Nazis across northern Norway. On October 9 at 4:00pm is An-Magritt (Arne Skouen, 1969) starring Liv Ullmann. On October 10 at 4:30pm and October 22 at 2:30pm is The Hunt (Erik Lochen, 1959) preceded by the short film A Year along the Abandoned Road (Morten Skallerud, 1991). On October 15 at 2:30pm is The Pathfinder (Nils Gaup, 1987), the first feature film in the indigenous Sami language. On October 23 at 2:00pm is Jernanger (Pal Jackman, 2009) preceded by the short film To See a Boat in Sail (Anja Breien, 2001). On October 24 at 4:30pm is An Enemy of the People (Erik Skjoldbjaerg, 2005), a modern-day interpretation of the Ibsen play and preceded by the short film Oblique (Knut Asdam, 2008). On October 29 at 2:30pm and October 30 at 2:00pm is Lake of the Dead (Kare Bergstrom, 1958) and on October 30 at 4:00pm is The Ice Palace (Per Blom, 1987).
Other events and art films at the Gallery include the Washington premiere of David Hockney: A Bigger Picture (Bruno Wollheim, 2009), a new profile of the artist with the director in person to introduce the film. On October 14, 21, and 28 at 2:00pm is Edvard Munch (Peter Watkins, 1974), a docudrama about Edvard Munch. On October 17 at 4:00pm is the Washington premiere of The Desert of Forbidden Art (2010) with the filmmakers Amanda Pope and Tchavdar Georgiev in person. On October 23 at 4:30pm is film historian Serge Bromberg presenting and accompanying on piano a selection of rare and restored short films. On October 31 at 4:00pm is Haxan--Witchcraft Through the Ages (Benjamin Christensen, 1922), with the original score performed live and conducted by Gillian Anderson.
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
On October 14 and 28 at 8:00pm, and October 16, 17, 23, and 24 at 2:00pm and 4:00pm is Pepperminta (Pipilotti Rist, 2010), an adult fairy tale about the power of color.
National Museum of the American Indian
2501 Migrants: A Journey (Yolanda Cruz, 2009) is an hour-long documentary on Oaxacan artist Alejandro Santiago, and is shown October 1 and 4-15 at 12:30pm and 3:30pm.
On October 10 at 7:00pm is State of Aloha (Anne Misawa, 2010), about Hawaii's 50th anniversary of statehood, preceded by a short comedy film Lychee Thieves (Kathleen Man, 2010). Both filmmakers will be present for Q&A after the film. See website for RSVP instructions.
Jim Thorpe, The World’s Greatest Athlete (Tom Weidlinger, 2009) is a documentary about the Native American sports icon and shows October 16-31 at 3:30pm.
National Portrait Gallery
As part of the "Reel Portraits" is It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966) on October 2 at 1:00pm. Lee Mendelson, friend of Charles Schulz and executive producer of the classic Peanuts specials will be present for discussion and questions.
On October 20 at 7:30pm is The Cameraman (1928) with Buster Keaton, shown in the Kogod Courtyard.
Smithsonian American Art Museum
On October 7 at 6:30pm is Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (Frank Capra, 1939) with Jimmy Stewart as an idealistic senator.
Washington Jewish Community Center
On October 10 at 3:00pm is Reel Injun: On the Trail of the Hollywood Indian (Neil Diamond, 2009), a documentary about the evolution of cinema's depiction of Native people from the last 100 years. On October 13 at 7:00pm is The Breakfast Club (John Hughes). On October 18 at 7:300pm is Sayed Kashua: Forever Sacred a documentary about the award-winning author, columnist and screenwriter shown with an episode of Arab Labor, the popular TV program created and written by Kashua.
"Afro-Germans in Film" is a new series running from September 13-October 25. All will be introduced by professors of German at area universities. The films remaining in October are Black on White (Gunter Wallraff, 2009) on October 18 at 6:30pm and Return to Go! (Pierre Sanoussi-Bliss, 2000) on October 25 at 6:30pm
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of its reunification is a showing of Deutchland eilig Vaterland (Carl Ludwig Paeschke and Uli Weidenbach, 2010) on October 5 at 6:30pm. A discussion will follow.
National Geographic Society
The All Roads Film Project takes place September 28-October 3; its mission is to showcase film and photography from indigenous and underrepresented minority cultures around the globe. The remaining shows in October are: On October 1 at noon is And the River Flows On (Carlos Pérez Rojas, 2010), a documentary about a dam in Mexico shown with the short film The Farm (Romaine Moreton, 2008) from Australia). On October 1 at 7:00pm is Boy (Taika Waititi, 2009) from New Zealand, winner of numerous awards. On October 1 at 9:00pm is The Search (Pema Tseden, 2009) from Tibet. On October 2 at noon is cbqm (Dennis AZllen, 2009) from Canada shown with the short film Shining Spirit: The Musical Journey of Jamyang Yeshi. On October 2 at 4:30pm is Dear Lemon Lima (Suzi Yoonessi, 2009). On October 2 at 7:00pm is Samson & Delilah (Warwick Thornton, 2009) from Australia which was on the short list for Foreign Language Oscar. On October 3 at 1:00pm is Up Heartbreak Hill (Erica Sharf, 2010) shown with the short film Lifeless. On October 3 at 3:30pm is We Live By the River (Karin Williams, 2009) from Canada, shown with three short films The Forgotten Place, Tribal Journeys of the Pacific Northwest, and The Cave. On October 3 at 6:00pm is Shooting with Mursi (Ben Young and Olisarali Olibui, 2008) about the Mursi tribe living a traditional lifestyle in a remote area of Ethiopia, shown with three short films Stones, A'ynan and Cry Rock.
On October 3 at 2:00pm is a program of short films including Why Not Snow White While You're At It? (Joël Olivier, 2009), The Child of la Ciotat (Arnaud Debrée, 1996), Micheline (Bruno Ballouard, 2009), Their First Voyage (Grégoire Sivan, 2007), I'll be Zorro Someday (Joël Olivier, 2009). See the website for RSVP instructions.
On October 12 at 7:00pm is Rapt (Lucas Belvaux, 2009), a French-Belgium production with four Cesar award nominations, about a kidnapped industrialist.
The Japan Information and Culture Center
On October 20 at 6:30pm is All Around Us (Ryosuke Hashiguchi, 2008), about a Tokyo courtroom sketch artist who observes trials of shocking crimes. On October 27 at 6:30pm is an anime film Spirited Away (Hayao Miyazaki, 2001) which was the first anime to win an Academy Award for Best Animated Film.
On October 6 at 7:00pm is Nuremberg: Its Lesson for Today (2009), a restoration of the U.S. Government’s 1948 film about the first Nuremberg trial—the International Military Tribunal, one of the greatest courtroom dramas in history. The original film was directed by Stuart Schulberg and restored by his daughter Sandra Schulberg who will be present to introduce the film. The film is screened in conjunction with the display of the original Nuremberg Laws.
On October 28 at 7:00pm is a newly discovered film Upstream (John Ford, 1927); this is one of 75 lost American films recently discovered in New Zeland by Brian Meacham, an archivist for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, who will introduce the film. Live music accompaniment will be performed by pianist Michael Mortilla and violinist Nicole Garcia. A short trailer will also be shown.
The Avalon's new series of Greek films on the first Wednesday of each month has become very popular. On October 6 at 8:00pm is False Alarm (Katerina Evangelakou, 2006).
For this month's "Czech Lions" series on October 13 at 8:00pm is Fimfarum II (Jan Balej, Aurel Klimt, Vlasta Pospíšilová and Bretislav Pojar, 2006), four animated fairy tales from the books by Jan Werich. The stories are "Tom Thumb" by Bretislav Pojar, "Hunchbacks from Damascus" by Aurel Klimt, "Three Sisters and One Ring" by Vlasta Pospíšilová, and "The Sea, Uncle, Why is it Salty?" by Jan Balej. Winner of a Czech Lion for Best Design Achievement.
The "French Cinematheque" film for October is Army of Crime (Robert Guédiguian, 2009) on October 20 at 8:00pm.
On October 26 at 7:00pm is The Family Jams, a documentary about three musical acts, filmed in the summer of 2004. Director Kevin Barker will introduce the film and answer questions.
GW Lisner Auditorium
On October 15 at 8:00pm is "Cinematic Titanic" from the creator and cast of Mystery Science Theater. The cast will riff on the 1968 Japanese sci-fi thriller War of the Insects.
Anacostia Community Museum
On October 3 at 1:00pm is From Florida to Coahuila (2002), a documentary about Black Seminoles who arrived in Mexico from Oklahoma in 1850. Their descendents are ranchers in Texas and Mexico and still speak a language spoken by the Gullah 200 years ago.
On October 4 at 7:00pm is an award-winning documentary about Irish surfers Waveriders (Joel Conroy). The location is the Renaissance Dupont Circle Hotel, 1143 New Hampshire Avenue, NW.
Sixth and I Synagogue
On October 27 at 7:00pm is Seeking Happily Ever After, a documentary about single women discussing the ups and downs of being single today. Filmmaker Michelle Cove will answer questions after the film.
Embassy of Argentina
On October 28 at 6:30pm is Los Afroargentinos (2005), a documentary about Afro-Argentines in the history and culture of Argentina from colonial times to now. A discussion will follow the screening. See the website for RSVP instructions.