Red Joan: Q&A with Director Trevor Nunn and Actors Sophie Cookson, Stephen Campbell Moore, and Tereza Srbova
By Ron Gordner, DC Film Society Member
Red Joan (United Kingdom, 2018) was a world premiere at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival in September 2018.
Dame Judy Dench plays Joan Stanley, fictionalized from the real Melita Norwood as a retired scientist who was arrested in 2000 and accused of being a spy and KGB operative in the 1930s and giving away nuclear secrets to Russian operatives. Flash backs show a younger Joan (played by Sophie Cookson) as a physics student at Cambridge University. She becomes politicized as many other young students supporting the Spanish Republicans and Communistic or Socialists ideals of an even or classless society of the future. Joan meets Sonya and her brother (played by Leo Hughes (Prince Albert of the Victoria PBS series) and is swept off her feet. When World War II begins, she finds herself working for a top secret British intelligence agency with unhappily married Max Davis (Stephen Campbell Moore) and dealing with nuclear power and weapons. Known in England also as the Granny Spy, the elder Joan is somewhat tepid and confused when asked by British intelligence and her relatives how could she ever have betrayed her country. She admonishes she was doing the right thing so all the powers were equally balanced in knowledge to prevent more bombings and warfare. Part of her actions result from her seeing the results of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the film poses complex morality issues.
TIFF Moderator: Trevor, can you tell us how you were attracted to the story and involved with the film?
Trevor Nunn: We live in a random universe and one day I was walking past a book shop and saw a book that looked fascinating and I kept reading it. Also these days, sometimes there is an email address on the back of the book to contact the author or give your responses. I immediately wrote and said this should be made into a film and the wonderful Judi Dench should play Joan in the later years. Only 20 minutes later in our wonderful technological age, the writer Jenny Rooney texted back and said oh, yes how wonderful the rights are still available; when can we meet? It went from there very swiftly and 8 or 9 months later we were making the movie.
TIFF Moderator: Judi was the earliest cast member you wanted?
Trevor Nunn: Yes I have worked with Judi for years and I saw her in a play in London and we met after it and brought the movie into our conversation and she was intrigued with the part and the movie.
TIFF Moderator: Did you decide to start the film with the older Joan and Judi and then flash back, was that a decision made from the start?
Trevor Nunn: I think that the contemporary arc of the story is also important and the denial issues at first and with her memory. Also her son and reputation are involved society. But by the end when she makes a clear statement about her motives, I think we see what her message is and her reasoning. Obviously, her decisions and the ethics and legal issues can be fearlessly argued about. Is loyalty to your country more important than a humanitarian moral decision. We see her as a very intelligent young woman played by Sophie and a point where she feels she makes a moral judgement, not a political judgement. We don’t need to agree with her decisions, but we can perhaps better understand her choices. We only have to turn on television today and see that nuclear proliferation and possible warfare are again timely issues. Alarmingly some leaders seem to be childlike in discussing possible nuclear confrontation when we realize this could mean exterminating nations, races and indeed, parts of the planet. With Iran, North Korea, and other Russian nuclear and military demonstrations today we still are reminded about the horrors of Hiroshima.
TIFF Moderator: Sophie, when you did research for the role of Joan, did you find other women out there with similar stories or how did you prepare for the role?
Sophie Cookson: The story of Melita is a good starting point, but Joan isn’t quite as committed to the Communist party as Melita in the book or life and you can see her conflicts with Leo at times. Trevor and Judi were very helpful to me also to tell her story.
Trevor Nunn: It was interesting that being a woman provided a certain amount of security clearance she wouldn’t have today. They wouldn’t have been easily thought to be under suspicion, after all, she was only a woman. The story is about the courage of this young woman.
Audience Question: Was Joan exactly like the real Melita?
Trevor Nunn: Melita worked in very top secret projects in London, not Cambridge as the novel shows. There are some similarities with Cambridge students who later got into higher diplomatic positions.
Audience Question: The director does many Shakespeare plays. Which play or characters would compare in this film?
Trevor Nunn: Shakespeare was one of the first to write roles for women, and mature women and larger parts. In terms of this context, the mother of Coriolanus who has tremendous courage to stop her son from ruining the state. Judi Dench also played that part before and he also made Cleopatra a strong female character also played once by Judy Dench.
Audience Question: When they came to Canada where did they go?
Trevor Nunn: Montreal. There was complete cooperation with the Canadians, British and Americans until the Manhattan Project got going and then the Americans did not want to keep the information as freely flowing. Of course the British could never have developed the nuclear knowledge on their own and depended greatly on Canada.
Audience Question: What challenges did the actors find in doing a period piece?
Sophie Cookson: I think any film has challenges. I was somewhat terrified to play a younger Judi Dench. I didn’t meet Judi until we started filming.
Tereza Srbova: The make-up was interesting.
Stephen Campbell Moore: Often with a period piece, the setting is significant, but Trevor was very good at that and we could hone our characters. Even when you see films now from the 40’s the characters are pretty much the same.
Audience Question: How did the others prepare?
Tereza Srbova: It was a friend but how to still be mysterious and that she was a person with her own agenda. I had to keep the ambiguity of the character and the accent.
Trevor Nunn: Sonya was born in Russia, lived in Germany and then came to England. Tereza was born in the Czech Repubic, lived in Germany and then came to England so there is quite a bit of authenticity in that already.
Stephen Campbell Moore: I wanted to look believable about knowing about science and fusion and fission etc., that we talked about it.
Trevor Nunn: My son has just become a particle physicist and professor. I tell him he got it from me but I think I stopped understanding him when he was about 13. (laughter).
Audience Question: Do you think Joan did the right thing? (audience murmuring no, no)
Tereza Srbova: I think that Joan makes you question it but also find it somewhat understandable.
Stephen Campbell Moore: I don’t think I can judge her myself but do respect anyone being that courageous.
Sophie Cookson: I played her but I saw her as a young, completely naïve woman with suddenly with some power; so in some ways I feel she may have done the right thing in her eyes.
Trevor Nunn: During that time, when the character made the decision, if she had been arrested when young she would have been hanged. I really hope when people see the film that they will go away and discuss or argue, or talk about what loyalty or what the East West conflict means. We can’t just go along with propaganda decisions. We see in history that when a civilization has power over others we see how easily pushing a button can create destruction on both sides. Joan says, "Well they haven’t used it in 50 years have they?" They haven’t but whether anyone in the future will or can do, that is still alarmingly part of today’s issues and the argument.
Red Joan opened in the DC area April 26.
Hail Satan?: Q&A with director Penny Lane
By Annette Graham, DC Film Society Member
An advance screening of Hail Satan? (Penny Lane, 2019) was shown at Landmark's E Street Cinema on April 16. Director Penny Lane answered audience questions after the film and Jason Dick, deputy editor of Rollcall, moderated the discussion. This Q&A is edited and condensed.
Hail Satan? is an irreverent but revealing documentary about the Satanic Temple, whose members are "basically the Yes Men with an ethos, using humor and outrageous behavior to call attention to hypocrisy, particularly when it comes to incursions of religion into the public sphere." (New York Times review of April 17).
Jason Dick: Where did your interest in this topic come from?
Penny Lane: I heard of the Satanic Temple from the news. There were headlines about these trolling, pranking Satanists. From a distance I thought that was all there was to it, that they were just atheists in caves. I thought it was pretty clever, but I didn't think it was particularly fascinating either It wasn't until I came across a 2014 cover piece in the Village Voice that I realized so much more was going on, as you see in the film. The Satanic Temple wasn't just a joke, it wasn't just an idea that was being used to make a political point. It was an actual organization with members, at that time was 50,000 and now is around a few hundred thousand members. This isn't just a joke at all. Something real is going on. But I didn't understand it. How could you be a Satanist; Satanists are bad. I just didn't know anything about Satanism and suspect most of you didn't either. It was a kind of series of misconceptions overturned. That was my experience and I thought it was quite fun. Every misconception that I overturned turned out to be an interesting mind-altering relevation for me. Going so far as to suddenly think about these symbols--the Pledge of Allegiance, the national motto [In God We Trust] and to question where did they come from? They must have been there all along, and then realizing they weren't. It was an interesting civic education for me as well as confusing me and provoking me in a fun way about what religion is, what it could be. And I thought it was really provocative and really fun. At the end of the day, whatever I think of the Satanists as individuals or their religion, I think the role they are performing in society is frankly heroic. Someone has to do this and they are doing this with a target on their back, every day. They are on the frontlines fighting for all of your rights. So even if you hate them you have to acknowledge that's what is going on. All of that wrapped up into something I thought probably no one would like but that I would make anyway.
Jason Dick: The kids we all saw in high school, or maybe we were in high school--goth kids, those who listened to metal, those who played dungeons and dragons, it's not hard to see them reflected at the adult level here. It seemed like the same scenarios were being played out. Have you run into any blowback as a freshman filmmaker where people are saying why are you doing this, why are you giving these people a platform?
Penny Lane: I haven't really but the movie just came out so maybe I've only met with friendly audiences so far. Certainly at the pitching stage, I had to do a lot of convincing of various studio executives. Making this movie was unlike anything I'd made before because I was dealing with topics that everyone I talked to assumed they were an expert on and in fact knew nothing about. If you want to know what Satanism is about you have to ask a Satanist. We could debate all night if they are a religion. There's no talking to people sometimes about these topics. It was frustrating.
Jason Dick: Maybe it's a more significant blowback because you are asking for funding.
Penny Lane: When you are making a movie about such profound misconceptions about such powerful images, you have to respect that.
Jason Dick: What about the timing, opening on Good Friday?
Penny Lane: Magnolia claims they didn't know. When I called them, there was total silence. I think they actually didn't know. I think it's great. I'm not a Satanist myself but I did want to honor what I was talking about. I wanted to embrace that blasphemy. There's stuff in the film that's explicitly blasphemous. For me to take Christian music and use it in a subversive, offensive way was my blasphemous gesture. I'm okay with it opening on Easter weekend.
Audience Question: The Satanic Temple is a specific group. Are we to presume they represent all Satanists?
Penny Lane: No. Satanism really starts in 1966 with Anton LaVey. Before then anyone who was called a Satanist was being accused of something terrible, probably in order to murder them. 1966 marks the moment where people start saying I am a Satanist and this is what it means to me. You have the Church of Satan which is Anton LaVey's, he founded it. They continue on. They have beliefs that are a 70% overlap with the Satanic Temple. When the Satanic Temple shows up in 2013 what you see is essentially a Satanic reformation moment. (audience laughs) They take most of what LaVey believed and most of what the Church of Satan said and they said, "Some of this isn't going to work for us anymore. And we are going to change some of it." This is stuff I left out of the film because it's too much like inside baseball for a general audience. But it's important to say that there are other Satanists out there; not all Satalnists are members of the Satanic Temple. Satanists are highly individualistic people and many interpret Satanism in widely different ways and most of them would never join a group. There is some irony to a Satanic institution with a conference room and powerpoint presentations.
Jason Dick: You acknowledge the complexity; you have the Detroit chapter and Jex [Blackmore] breaking off.
Penny Lane: Jex isn't going to be anyone's automaton. There are constant schisms. Sometimes the way you know you have a real religion is that you get schisms and excommunications.
Audience Question: Did they get exempt status?
Penny Lane: I believe they got it but check me on that.
Audience Question: What was the genesis of the scene in Detroit where Jex said the president should be executed?
Penny Lane: That was a Satanic ritual that Jex has done many times befire. There were 200 people in the room. It was zero degrees; it was middle of winter in Detroit in an unheated warehouse. It was very intense, moving and loud. Everyone in the room was in a heightened state. No one in that room would have taken those instructions as instructions. It didn't even occur to me that what she said was a problem; it was in keeping with this empowering ritual. Jex wants to empower people, to make them realize they don't need institutions, connections, or power or money to make changes. They can make change themselves. It's always her purpose to encourage the satanic within all of us. It turned out to be an important event in the history of the organization. Losing Jex was a big deal. Many people came to the Satanic Temple through Jex. Her participation in the organization was important and it was a big blow to a lot of people when she left. She carries on doing her own independent thing.
Audience Question: How did you get such good access to the movement? Was it ever at risk?
Penny Lane: It's actually a testament to the editing of the film that you don't realize this but I didn't have early access. I didn't show up until Arkansas. Everything you saw in the first third of the film was in-house footage shot by Satanic Temple members. The real access issue was about getting that footage. You are trying to convince people that you aren't going to harm them. It was their footage--some of them made lots of efforts to cut certain things out before giving it to me but usually there were multiple copies of those batches of footage. Someone would take a lot of time to carefully censor it and someone else would just give me the whole thing. There are so many copies of this digital stuff. I think the whole access issue was convincing the Satanic Temple to let us do this. We could have made the film without their participation but not really because I wanted them to explain themselves in their own words. Meeting Lucien Greaves initially, he had no interest in doing a film. He's not interested in having cameras on him all the time. I think he expected to meet me and say no but we had a second meeting where I gave him a more formed pitch and he was very happy when I said I wasn't interested in his biography. I had no interest in that story. I think he was thrilled to realize that I wasn't interested in a radical portrait and was interested in the same issues they were interested in. I think that was what started the process of gaining the trust. You have to do that at every stage with each new person you meet.
Audience Question: What do hope the movie will achieve?
Penny Lane: When you are an artist you are open minded about what it will achieve. I hope the movie achieves a renewed urgency around the fact that there is an organized theocratic agenda that is happening. You can look at these battles and not care about prayers in public schools, monuments of the Ten Commandments. But the problem is that if each of those seemingly small battles is won it becomes justification for the next. Even if these symbols seem meaningless, they are not. Everyone should care about it; it doesn't matter what religion you are, it's in your interest that the government not pick and choose for you. It's not atheists vs. religious people. In America, religion has thrived because we do not have a state religion. You can go to Europe and see all those state sanctioned empty museums or you can go to DC and see five new churches on every block.
Audience Question: How did you decide this was the way to express your thoughts about the fact that American was a country based on the Roger Williams idea of keeping church separate from state? Our country does accept all religions. Why choose this is a demonstration of separation of church and state and tracing that back to the founding of the republic?
Penny Lane: I didn't set out to make a film about church and state issues; I learned about church/state issues through Satanists. Satanism brought me to this very important education. I think this presentation is fun and entertaining enough that people might pay attention. An example is that before the Satanic Temple there weren't a lot of high-profile monument battles. The atheists would have their "bench." But no one remembers that. The film is not a delivery vehicle for my pre-exisiting political convictions. It was a story about the birth of a new religious movement that blew my mind. And along the way I learned all this important stuff.
Audience Question: You could draw parallels that this group might be a lesser-funded performance art-infused version of the ACLU. Did they get any funding from the ACLU?
Penny Lane: I wish that Lucien [Greaves] was here; I hesitate to say what he would say. If Lucien was here he would say that ACLU wants nothing to do with us; they have avoided us like the plague. Only in very recent months have some ACLU chapters started to think maybe we should pair up with these people. But no one wants them, everyone hates them. Even other Satanists hate them. Everyone hates them. If you were thinking what's a winning political strategy you might not include them in your ideal coalition. (audience laughs) But on utilitarian grounds they are effective. At some point along the way, the tide started to change. It used to be that if the Satanists did one of their actions, the surefire win for all the local politicians would be to shut them down. It's no longer a given that that is a political win. I've seen pushback to that just in the last 6-8 months. That's really good. But people push back--they get their monument too. In California, the first openly Satanic political candidate ever ran for State Senate and got 12% of the vote. He's also African-American. That's amazing--African American Satanist in a heavily evangelical white community got 12% of the vote. I don't think it's impossible; it seems hard to imagine now but the meaning of symbols change over time. The words Hail Satan are not fixed in stone. Those words can change meaning pretty quickly in culture. What you see is religious pluralism, reconciliation of opposites, standing up to a tyrannical theocratic agenda. I think things are changing to some extent and it's because of the work they have been doing. They had almost no pro-bono legal support.
Audience Question: The film was funny, and had such great comedic timing. Was that something you were cognizant of during the production or was it something you found in post-production while editing the film?
Penny Lane: I knew the film would be funny. That is built in. You saw the first scene. (audience laughs) The humor wasn't a surprise. What was surprising to me was how moved I was by this story and how inspired I was by it. I did not fully go into the film expecting that. You see the film evolve in that direction. It starts out like a comedy and ends as a weirdly triumphant inspiring uplifting movie. That was a surprise. I tend to make weird funny movies and part of that is that I ask the viewer to take in some heavy ideas and challenge their own beliefs. A little bit of laughter goes a long way in opening people up to new ideas, it's an underappreciated tool.
Hail Satan? opened April 26 at the AFI Silver Theater and Landmark's West End Cinema.
Calendar of Events
American Film Institute Silver Theater
"The DC Labor Film Fest" (May 1-30) is a film festival about work, workers and the wider issues affecting workers' lives. The Opening Night film is Support the Girls. Other titles are On the Basis of Sex, Councilwoman, Sorry to Bother You, Idiocracy,, the 20th anniversary of Office Space, the 10th anniversary of Extract, the 40th anniversary of Norma Rae, and High Flying Bird.
"The Star Wars Saga" (May 3-7) presents eight episodes of the Star Wars adventures: Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, Revenge of the Sith, A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, The Force Awakens, and The Last Jedi.
"Recent Restorations" (May 3-July 11) includes Detour in 4K, The Last Movie in 4K, and They Live, also a 4K restoration.
"United Artists Centennial" continues in May with Bulldog Drummond (1929) and Chaplin's City Lights.
The AFI is one of the locations for the 29th Washington Jewish Film Festival May 8-26. The Opening Night film is Redemption from Israel. See the website for more titles.
Special events in May include the documentary Hit and Stay with filmmakers Joe Tropea and Skizz Cyzyk in person, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, the great Japanese classic Rashomon, and Led Zeppelin Played Here with filmmaker Jeff Krulik in person with fans and journalists.
Freer Gallery of Art
A series of Japanese classic films continues at the Freer. On May 1 at 2:00pm is Street of Shame (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1956).
For Asian Pacific American Heritage Month is Flower Drum Song (Henry Koster, 1961) on May 6 at 1:00pm, the first Hollywood film featuring a majority Asian American cast.
The "Korean Film Festival DC 2019) begins on May 10 at 7:00pm with Little Forest (Yim Soion-rye, 2018). On May 12 at 1:30pm is Grass (Hong Sang-soo, 2018); on May 12 at 3:30pm is Hotel by the River (Hong Sang-soo, 2018); on May 18 at 2:00pm is Burning (Lee Chang-dong, 2018) with a discussion afterwards; and on May 31 at 7:00pm is the award-winning Hit the Night (Jeong Ga-young, 2017). More in June.
Two episodes of a hit TV drama The Story of Yanxi Palace (2018) are shown May 11 at 3:30pm in conjunction with the exhibit "Empresses of China's Forbidden City 1644-1912." Come early for a discussion before the screening at 2:00pm "Women of the Quing Court: History and Fantasy.
For "Movie Music Mondays" is Song of Lahore (Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and Andy Schocken, 2015) about Pakistani musicians on May 13 at 1:00pm. On May 20 at 1:00pm is Junun (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2015), a documentary filmed in India's Mehrangarth Fort.
National Gallery of Art
Special events is May include a Cine-Concert Coeur fidele (Jean Epstein, 1923) with music by the Alloy Orchestra on May 4 at 3:00pm; the Oscar-nominated Hale County This Morning This Evening (RaMell Ross, 2018) on May 5 at 4:30pm; "Mothering Over Time," a collection of short films on Mother's Day, May 12 at 4:00pm; the re-scheduled Image Book (Jean-Luc Godard, 2018) on May 19 at 4:30pm and the Washington premiere of the 4K restoration of The Baker's Wife (Marcel Pagnol, 1938) on May 20 at 2:00pm.
Filmmaker and visual artist Janie Geiser presents a program of recent films on May 11. At 2:00pm is an artist's talk and at 3:30pm is a program of recent short films with the filmmaker present to discuss the films.
A Walt Whitman Bicentennial on May 18 showcases two programs with texts written by Whitman: at 2:00pm is Manhatta (Charles Sheeler and Paul Strang, 1921) and at 2:30pm is Street Scene (Francesca Zambello, 1995). Whitman scholars and historians will comment on the films and on Whitman's poetry.
On May 25 at 2:30pm is "The Arboretum Cycle of Nathaniel Dorsky," a series of seven short films from 2017.
"Roberto Rossellini: The War Trilogy" (May 25-27) is based on WWII. On May 25 at 12:00noon is Rome, Open City (1945); on May 27 at 12:30pm is Paisan and on May 27 at 3:30pm is Germany, Year Zero (1948).
National Museum of the American Indian
On May 4 at 4:30pm is Navajo Math Circles (2016), a documentary about math students. The film's director, George Csicsery, and others will introduce the film.
National Museum of African American History and Culture
On May 5 at 7:15pm is the documentary Wu-Tang Clan: 'Of Mics and Men', with discussion afterwards.
Smithsonian American Art Museum
On May 10 at 7:00pm, shown in conjunction with the exhibit "American Art and the Vietnam War 1965-1975," is the Oscar-nominated documentary In the Year of the Pig (Emile de Antonio, 1968), followed by a discussion with film and art historian Erica Levin.
National Museum of Women in the Arts
On May 5 at 2:15pm is Part II of a film series on contemporary women artists, including Kimsooja, Barbara Kruger, Sally Mann and Zanele Muholi. More in June.
On May 1 at 6:30pm is the new documentary Ursula von Rydingsvard: Into Her Own (Daniel Traub, 2019). A Q&A with the filmmaker and artist follows the film. Shown to accompany the special exhibition Ursula von Rydingsvard: The Contour of Feeling."
Landmark's West End Cinema hosts a new film series "Wunderbar Films: German Cinema 101" - Film and Discussion with Hester Baer, Associate Professor and Head of Germanic Studies at the University of Maryland. Films will be shown once a month and are divided into four categories: contemporary German film, films of the German Democratic Republic (DEFA Studio), films of the Weimar Republic (1920s), and New German Cinema (1970s). The series began in October and continues on May 13 at 6:30pm with the Weimar Republic film Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1928), one of the earliest science-fiction films. An introduction to the film will be provided by Dr. Peter Pfeiffer, Professor of German and a discussion will follow the screening.
"Kino-Q" is a three-film program, part of the Queer as German Folk series. Note the different locations. On May 11 at 1:00pm is The Einstein of Sex (Rosa von Praunheim, 1999), shown at the AFI Silver Theater and introduced by Dr. Richard Wetzell with Q&A afterward. On May 16 at 6:15pm is one of the first films with a gay protoganist (played by the great Conrad Veidt) Different from the Others (Richard Osward, 1919), with an introduction by Dr. Katrin Sieg from Georgetown University and discussion. Location: Landmark's Bethesda Row Cinema. On May 18 at 2:00pm is Ticket of No Return (Ulrike Ottinger, 1979) introduced by Dr. Hester Baer from the University of Maryland. Location: Hirshhorn Museum.
On May 2 at 8:00pm is An American in Paris (Vincente Minnelli, 1951) with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra playing George Gershwin's score.
"Highlights of Cannes" is a series of four films most of which are Palme d'Or winners at the Cannes Film Festival. On May 15 at 7:00pm is My Uncle (Jacques Tati, 1958); and on May 28 at 7:00pm is The Class (Laurent Cantet, 2008).
The Japan Information and Culture Center
On May 8 at 6:30pm is Blue Alchemy: Stories of Indigo (Mary Lance, 2011), a documentary about the history, culture and revival of blue dye. Tom Goehner, Curator of Education at the Textile Museum, will introduce the film which is shown in conjunction with the exhibit "Indigo Threads: Weaving Japanese Craftsmanship and American Heritage." On May 22 at 6:30pm is a film TBA. On May 31 at 6:30pm is an anime film TBA.
On May 11 at 2:00pm is Iron Jawed Angels (2004) starring Hilary Swank and Lucy Burns in the fight for women's right to vote.
On May 17 at noon is Not For Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, Part I (Ken Burns). On May 24 at noon is Part II.
"Cinema Arts Bethesda" is a monthly Sunday morning film discussion series. On May 19 at 10:00am is A Fantastic Woman (Sebastian Lelio, 2017) from Argentina.
Breakfast is at 9:30am, the film is at 10:00am and discussion follows, moderated by Adam Spector, host of the DC Film Society's Cinema Lounge and author of the column "Adam's Rib." A season pass is available.
National Museum of Natural History
On May 21 at 6:45pm is When Whales Walked:Journeys in Deep Time, followed by Q&A with the filmmakers and scientists involved in the film.
On May 1 at 7:30pm is Ash Is Purest White (Zia Zhang-Ke, 2018) from China, part of the "Programmer's Choice" series.
On May 5 at 5:00pm is an evening to benefit the Avalon "Backwards and in Heels: the Hidden History of Women in Film." Washington Post film critic Ann Hornaday and TCM host, film reporter, and author Alicia Malone will discuss the accomplishments of women working in film.
On May 8 at 8:00pm is the documentary Making Montgomery Clift (Robert Anderson Clift and Hillary Demmon, 2018) followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers.
On May 15 at 8:00pm is Orchestra Class (Rachid Hami, 2017), part of the "French Cinematheque" series.
On May 22 at 8:00pm is The Teacher (Jan Hrebejk, 2016), followed by Q&A with the director.
New York University Abramson Family Auditorium
On May 6 at 6:30pm is the Irish documentary Keepers of the Flame (Nuala O'Connor, 2018), followed by a discussion.
Library of Congress
On May 22 at 4:00pm is Crazy Rich Asians (Jon Chu, 2018), followed by a discussion with novelist Kevin Kwan, author of the 2013 novel. Part of Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month. A booksigning follows the discussion.
The Mary Pickford Theater
at the Library of Congress continues its series of films showcasing the Library's collection and including newly preserved films. On May 16 at 7:00pm is Who's Minding the Store (Frank Tashlin, 1963) starring Jerry Lewis. The short film Scrap Happy Daffy precedes the feature.
"Capital Classics" at Landmark's West End Cinema
Classic films are shown at the West End Cinema on Wednesdays at 1:30pm, 4:30pm and 7:30pm. On May 1 is Pride and Prejudice (Robert Z. Leonard, 1940); on May 8 is Chariots of Fire (Hugh Hudson, 1981); on May 15 is Soylent Green (Richard Fleischer, 1973); on May 22 is The Cameraman (Edward Sedgwick, 1928) starring Buster Keaton; and on May 29 is The Goonies (Richard Donner, 1985).
Atlas Performing Arts Film Series
On May 3 at 8:00pm is The Kid (1921) starring Charlie Chaplin; music by Andrew Simpson. A 7:00pm reception precedes the film.
On May 14 at 7:00pm is Bite Me (Meredith Edwards) with writer and actress Naomi McDougall Jones present for Q&A after the film.
"New Disney Classics" is a series of 1990s Disney films, shown every second Wednesday January through June. On May 8 at 12:30pm is TBA. "Midday Movies: Foreign-Lanuage Films" is a series of foreign films shown every fourth Wednesday through May. On May 22 at 1:00pm is TBA.
Angelika Film Center Mosaic
On Wednesdays in May are film noirs. On May 1 is Gun Crazy (Joseph H. Lewis, 1950); on May 8 is Mildred Pierce (Michael Curtiz, 1945); on May 15 is The Maltese Falcon (John Huston, 1941); on May 22 is Double Indemnity (Billy Wilder, 1944) and on May 29 is The Lady from Shanghai (Orson Welles, 1948).
On Wednesdays in May are film noirs. On May 1 is Gun Crazy (Joseph H. Lewis, 1950); on May 8 is Mildred Pierce (Michael Curtiz, 1945); on May 15 is The Maltese Falcon (John Huston, 1941); on May 22 is Double Indemnity (Billy Wilder, 1944) and on May 29 is The Lady from Shanghai (Orson Welles, 1948).
Reel Affirmations XTra
On May 16 at 7:00pm and 9:00pm is TransMilitary (Gabriel Silverman and Fiona Dawson, 2018) about transgender people who serve in the US military. Location: Landmark's E Street Cinema.
Busboys and Poets
On May 13 at 6:30pm is the documentary From Selma to Stonewall: Are We There Yet? (Marilyn Bennett, 2016) at the Anacostia location. Part of the "Focus-In!" film series.
On May 10 at 7:00pm is Marty's Shadow (Whitney Aronson and Dan Levy Dagerman, 2018) followed by a discussion of the book by Stig Dagerman with American journalist Nancy Pick, a relative of one of the book's subjects. Part of the Languages Without Borders series.
On May 4 at at 8:00pm and 10:00pm is "DC Shorts Sings!" with music-themed short films and live musical performances by Crystle Cruz, Ava Silva and Jarreau Williams. Films titles are Hell You Talmbout, Minstrel vs. Puppet, Reverie for a Cow, Reverie and The Mud. Location: Miracle Theater.