May 2007

Last updated on May 1, 2007. Please check back later for additions.


Summer 2007 Trailer Program
The Cinema Lounge
Sarah Polley is "Up Up and Away" with Away From Her
Year of the Dog: Mike White Talks About His New Film
Actor Gabriel Byrne on Jindabyne
We Need to Hear From You
Calendar of Events

Summer 2007 Trailer Program

Come take a peek at this summer’s upcoming movies by enjoying a twice annual program from the Washington, D.C. Film Society--“COMING ATTRACTIONS Trailer Night, Summer 2007.” The program will take place on Tuesday, May 15, 2007 from 7:00-9:00 p.m. at Landmark’s E Street Cinema, 555 11th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C.

It’s that time of the year when Hollywood trots out its latest, and perhaps, biggest, movie blockbusters. This year the magic comes in threes … and twos …and even a four. “Sequel” is the word for the season but there is more. Join long-time favorite co-hosts and local film critics Joe Barber and Bill Henry as they wow you with the latest Hollywood news and buzz about what's in store, what’s hot and what’s not. Think you already know what sets you on fire? Think you’re ready to make your top ten movie list? Think again. Attendees get to play amateur critic and be a part of a live-wire, no-holds-barred, opinion-fest as they preview the most anticipated summer releases.

You might see trailers for the highly anticipated sequel triple play of Spider-Man 3, Shrek the Third and Pirates 3 - Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. But wait, Matt Damon is back in Bourne 3 or The Bourne Ultimatum, Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker return in Rush Hour 3 and Clooney, Pitt and company return for Ocean’s Thirteen. Bruce Willis outdoes most with his fourth installment in the Die Hard series Live Free or Die Hard, British zombies return in 28 Weeks Later…, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer reunites the Jessica Alba, Michael Chiklis, Chris Evans and Ioan Gruffudd, plus, there’s Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and Evan Almighty with Steve Carell. Other non-sequel trailer fare may include the cartoons The Simpsons Movie and Ratatouille, plus, Hairspray featuring John Travolta as a woman, the Shia LeBeouf triple play of Disturbia, Surf’s Up (another penguin cartoon), and Transformers, Kevin Costner shows his bad side in Mr. Brooks, and Harry Connick Jr. gets creepy with Ashley Judd in Bug. Comedy fans can look for Balls of Fury with Christopher Walken and Dan Fogler, Knocked Up with Katherine Heigl, Wedding Daze with Jason Biggs and I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry starring Adam Sandler and Kevin James.

As always, there’ll be lots of FREE film giveaways and movie posters PLUS chances for raffle prizes: movie and theatre tickets, and DVDs. Also, look for $5 pop and popcorn combos. This one-of-a-kind, semi-annual event is only $5.00 for members of the D.C. Film Society, FREE to Gold Members, and $8.00 to non-members. Tickets will be available one hour prior at 6:00 p.m.

The Cinema Lounge

The Cinema Lounge will meet on Monday, May 14 at 7:00pm to discuss the topic "What is the niche of independent film companies as they compete against large studios?"

The Cinema Lounge, a film discussion group, takes place at 7:00pm at
Barnes and Noble, 555 12th St., NW in Washington, DC (near the Metro Center Metro stop).

It's Up, Up and 'Away' for Sarah Polley

By Ronn Levine, DC Film Society Member

Maybe it’s the Canadian upbringing or the mostly indie resume, but actress Sarah Polley seems nice. When the moderator at a recent Freer Gallery of Art premiere of Away From Her—the new movie she wrote and directed about a couple dealing with Alzheimer’s Disease—lost the last page of her bio and had to pause, Polley smiled and said, "Don’t worry. My last few years are blank anyway."

Hardly. In the last three years, Polley, 28, has appeared in Dawn of the Dead, Don’t Come Knocking, The Secret Life of Words (an intense performance with Tim Robbins) and the highly praised but little-seen Canadian TV show, Slings and Arrows—the latter with her father, Michael Polley. (He’s the one leaning on the piano in the opening.) Go back a few more years and you can see her in Guinevere, My Life Without You and The Sweet Hereafter.

Seated on the modestly sized Freer stage, in a modestly short brown dress, she comes off, well, modest. When someone in the audience apologized for a question before asking it, Polley sheepishly asked, “Are you Canadian?” In fact, she came off so down-to-earth that a woman leaving the auditorium said to a woman friend, "She even has nice legs; I can definitely see your girl crush."

Polley ventured to Washington as a first-time director—"[turns out that] I’m a total control freak; it was clear to everyone else just not to me," she said—along with a co-star of the movie, the highly regarded Canadian actor Gordon Pinsent. (Academy-award winner Julie Christie also stars.) At the Freer, they basked in a warm audience glow, took questions and penned autographs. Asked when the movie opens, Polley kept a straight face and said, "May 4, same day as Spiderman. We’re going to mop the floor with that movie." And then she smiled.

The next day, seated with Pinsent in a suite at the Grand Hyatt, Polley proves equally disarming, laughing at the resemblance of a reporter to a fellow actor on Slings and Arrows. But when talk turns to Away From Her, she becomes serious and quickly shows why someone so young could write a film about older people, a rest home and a 40-plus year marriage.

"What was really interesting for me was that here was a portrait of a marriage, and when I first wrote the script I was at the beginning of a marriage," Polley says. "So I could look forward and wonder what a marriage looks like when that much life was piled on top of it, and life kind of had its way with you."

Polley adapted the film from an Alice Munro short story titled, “The Bear Came Over the Mountain,” that she read in The New Yorker on an airplane six years ago. In it, Pinsent and Christie show us a marriage full of love that should be in its best moments—except it’s clear to both that the initial stages of Alzheimer’s have settled upon her. Both Polley and Pinsent say that they can relate a bit to Alzheimer’s and the rest home that Christie’s character enters.

"I have a brother whose wife is in the second stages of Alzheimer’s," the eloquent, 70-something Pinsent says. "The thing that struck me and applied to my characterization [in the film] was the one to do with denial—on the patient’s part, whereby you couldn’t really address it with her. [My brother] could not. The pain that he went through, not being able to do anything except deny it himself."

Polley’s grandmother spent the last three years in a retirement home, so "it was an environment incredibly interesting to me and something [society] doesn’t talk about enough,” she says. “So many of us are dealing with loved ones going into these institutions and feeling conflicted about it. It was important for me to portray that environment."

Away From Her appears to get the rest home right—from the spirited card games to the sterile atmosphere—and even adds a few fun touches. Sitting in the TV room, a resident faithfully "announces" the televised hockey games for whoever cares to listen. Polley’s late uncle was Ted Darling, a Hall of Fame announcer for the Buffalo Sabres of the National Hockey League.

Polley uses a characteristic of Alzheimer’s—short-term memory disappearing while long-term memory coming to the fore—to show that the marriage hasn’t always been perfect. Pinsent says this is accurate. "This happens frequently with these patients. They quickly go to a sharper memory of the past—whether they use it in a vicious, despotic way or whether it’s all they had. But it was there. My brother’s wife had an acerbic sense of wit; the wit is gone now, and all that’s left is the anger."

Polley says she was fortunate to be able to cast all four leads that she had in mind upon first reading the story. (Michael Murphy and Olympia Dukakis play a second couple; he spends time in the home and is cared for by Christie.) Like many cinephiles—though mostly older ones—Polley is enamored with Christie, who she met while doing the Hal Hartley monster fable No Such Thing, and then acted with again in The Secret Life of Words.

“As you get older and acquire more life experiences, you get better, especially women,” Polley says. “You see them at their best. Julie and Olympia had a great relationship.”

Pinsent praises Polley for taking on something others might think was beyond her years. “How can someone so young take on such weighty material? Well, she’s weighty enough,” he says. “She never stopped learning [on the set]. She’s strong, straightforward and honest; I never would have touched it if I thought she wasn’t in control. It was a wonderful experience.”

Polley says she enjoyed adapting Munro’s story, despite the author’s lofty reputation. “I did have [scary] thoughts at first—adapting an icon for my first feature. But the process was joyful. I’ve written original scripts and that’s torturous. Self-loathing didn’t creep in on this occasion. On first read it was a remarkably easy story—very nuanced and cinematic.”

As for the eternal question of acting vs. directing, Polley says she would like to “do both equally. You do pick up [the craft] by osmosis”—Polley has acted for an all-star team of directors: Hartley, Doug Liman, Michael Winterbottom, Wim Wenders, David Cronenberg and Atom Egoyan—“but oddly enough I was actually kind of shocked when I first went to make my own short at film school about how little I knew about the process, how little I absorbed. It was very upsetting, very shocking.

“I kind of took really small steps. Did five short films and learned the process from square one. What you find out very quickly is that 90 percent of your job is to protect the actors from all pertinent information.” Polley laughs. “So what kind of happens until you direct your own is how little you know, unless you’ve made a conscious effort to learn.”

Pinsent says that Polley’s acting experience gave her a good feel with the actors. “Sarah kindly added a rehearsal period at the beginning, so by the time we had to begin filming, we were set to go. As an actor, it’s important to know that the director has complete faith in you.”

Polley says that there is one line in the movie that she would take back—about “garbage films” that play in the U.S.—that may have gotten the biggest laugh at the screening. “It’s not an issue of American films vs. Canadian films; [it’s more] the blockbuster Hollywood films as opposed to getting to see the independent films. That includes independent American films. A lot of great American films are being made. I just don’t think there are a lot of great films being made in the mainstream.

“In Canada it becomes a cultural issue and a bit of a national issue because that means we can’t see our own films. In fact it has more to do with commerce than anything else.”

Away From Her has received positive reviews and great audience reaction on the festival circuit, surprising Polley. “I don’t know why I thought there would be different reactions in different cultures, but it seems that everywhere we’ve screened the film, it’s been pretty similar. So I guess the film is more universal than we thought.” Modest once again.

Year of the Dog: An Interview with Mike White

By Lee Lederer, DC Film Society Member

In a New York Times review of Year of the Dog, Manohla Dargis comments that "the wily and resourceful young screenwriter Mike White writes movies that seem as if they were cooked up by the skinny, self-consciously awkward guy who always ends up alone in a corner at the office holiday party. As it happens, Mr. White, who sometimes acts in the films he and others write, is a skinny, seemingly self-aware guy, though given his resume--Chuck and Buck, The Good Girl, School of Rock and Nacho Libre--it's a safe bet he doesn't often play the wallflower, at least in Hollywood."

On the late afternoon of Thursday, April 12, just prior to the screening of his directorial debut film Year of the Dog and his Q&A for the Film Society at the Landmark Bethesda, Mike Smith talked at the Park Hyatt Washington about his new film and his career.

As to why he had decided to direct for the first time, White said that Year of the Dog was the sixth film he had written, not counting Dead Man on Campus which was a rewrite of a pre-existing project. "I felt it was time to get out of the back seat and behind the wheel," he explained. He said he had great relations with directors he had worked with in the past, and enjoyed that collaboration, but he welcomed the chance to develop his own directorial personal aesthetic. The "small scale" of the film, he noted, made it manageable for him.

In all of White's films, there is usually one central character and some of the supporting players who are outsiders, rather odd or offbeat personalities--Jack Black in Nacho Libre and Orange County, Black and Joan Cusack in School of Rock, Jake Gyllenhaal and Tim Blake Nelson in The Good Girl, and most notably Buck, played by Smith himself, in Chuck and Buck. And now Molly Shannon and Peter Sarsgaard in Year of the Dog.

Asked what draws him to these outsiders, White replied that "idiosyncratic characters are frankly more fun and I relate to them." White argued that such characters are not really that different from anyone else. "People's personal representations of themselves are not always who they really are," he said, "They're more eccentric than other people think they are."

Relating this to the Molly Shannon character in Year of the Dog, Smith said we all know people in our offices and in our lives who have certain obsessions. Smith argues that we all have our own versions of such obsessional thinking, of getting locked in on something, and that's part of what makes us tick.

Questioned as to why he chose animal rights as a theme for the film, Smith said he wanted to make a film about a woman who was obsessed with her dog, and it was a logical extension for her to become involved in animal rights. He said his personal feelings toward the character and the story are sympathetic, but he realizes not everybody will share that view.

Smith wrote the film with Molly Shannon, of "Saturday Night Live" fame, in mind for the role. "Molly is so funny", he said, and he liked the idea of devising a script which toned her down in the beginning and then, as the film develops and she unravels, allow that dial to go for her from one to ten.

Year of the Dog was written for Shannon and School of Rock for Jack Black. Asked whether The Good Girl was written with Jennifer Aniston in mind, Smith said she was one of the actresses he envisaged for the role and said it is always more interesting when you select someone from the acting ranks who is not one of the usual suspects. He said Aniston has good comic skills and timing, and that the audience relates to her. This allows her to do "mischievous, transgressive things and it's good to have someone like that to take the audience through" the film.

All of Smith's films have comedic aspects but some have a very melancholy aspect as well--such as Chuck and Buck, The Good Girl, and now Year of the Dog. Asked if he was consciously aware of these two aspects--the comic and the melancholy--when writing the scripts, Smith said he does not set out to write melancholy and eccentric characters, but recognizes the "bittersweet" aspects and "melancholy hues" in his films. He said he does not make a sharp distinction between comedy and serious drama and tends to see absurdity wherever he looks and that is reflected in his scripts. He also, he said, wants his films to be "substantive."

As to whether he makes the films he wants or the films the money people want, Smith said that Year of the Dog is now the fifth film he has made for Paramount. They all did well enough financially that the company was willing to let him make this film because of its relatively small budget and his track record. He said he has learned how to cut through the red tape in the film world and knows how the system works. "The money from Chuck and Buck, he said, "wouldn't pay the bills for a very long time." So he acknowledges the practical financial aspects of filmmaking, but nevertheless has managed to "make films meaningful to me".

As to whether he would want to direct again, Smith said he would, but on a scale which is his. He said he does not have the urge to "parlay success into a tentpole summer comedy", which he would find creatively inhibiting. "There won't be a "School of Rock II," he joked.

As for acting, he does that "more like a lark, to get out of my own head."

When asked if people "get" his work, Smith said that some of the reviews he reads are very perceptive and reveal and illuminate aspects of the movie to him even though he is the author. He also has read reviews which he thinks misunderstand his films or that indicate his film was the wrong movie for that particular audience.

Apart from entertaining his audience with Year of the Dog was there anything else he wanted to impart. "Honestly, no", Smith said, "The film has to speak for itself. People will have their own interpretation of the movie." He did say the spirit of the movie is about planting our flag in what makes us happy, and people's obsessions are the other side of that coin.

Mike Smith's films: Dead Man on Campus (1998); Chuck and Buck (2000); Orange County (2002); The Good Girl (2002); The School of Rock (2003); Nacho Libre (2006); Year of the Dog (2007).

Year of the Dog opened on April 20th.

Jindabyne: A Talk with Actor Gabriel Byrne

By James McCaskill, DC Film Society Member

The following is taken from Gabriel Byrne's press conference for his film, Jindabyne (Ray Lawrence, Australia, 2006) at the Edinburgh International Film Festival.

The EIFF catalogue describes Jindabyne as "moody, mysterious and magnificent: a new drama from the director of Lantana." The film is based on a Raymond Carver short story, "So Much Water, So Close to Home." Jindabyne has been called a "meditation of the Australian landscape and the all-too-human drama it frames." A group of friends, away for a long awaited fishing weekend and led by 'piss-weak' Irish expatriate Stewart (Gabriel Byrne), come upon a drowned Aboriginal woman. In not going back and telling authorities the group makes the first of several bad decisions. They choose to continue their fishing expedition and this decision affects all their lives. Lawrence makes the most of Snowy Mountains, New South Wales' magnificent vista in this story of the uneasy relationship between the white settlers and the Aboriginals. Jindabyne stars Gabriel Byrne and Laura Linney; the screenplay is by Ray Lawrence and Beatrix Christian.

Q: What attracted you to this film?
A: My agent saw the script and saw the deceptive nature of the film. It may seem to be very simple on the surface but it is dark and deep underneath. When I met with Lawrence he appeared to very obtrusive but maintains tight control. He is 59 and has only made three films (Jindabyne, Lantana and Bliss) because he maintains control of the final cuts. He allows the actors to work, he is almost invisible on the set. Lawrence once said, "I don't want to be caught directing."

Q: What do you mean when you say he allows the actors to work?
A: Most of the scenes in the film were shot in one take. Some actors only get going after 5 or 10 takes. The lack of lighting and make up adds something special. It is dogme without the dogma. He was making this type of film years ago, like Ken Loach.

Q: Are you comfortable with that style of directing?
A: His films are like a play. He is a mighty giant. There are long scenes between leads. A great many films are cut today to maintain the attention of the audience, that gives the film a different vocabulary. I took my daughter to see Moulin Rouge. She was five and I tried to explain editing to her. When the film started I heard her counting, 1, 2, 5, 4, 5 ... I asked her what she was doing. 'Counting the editing.' I showed Dog Day Afternoon to my son and he was bored in minutes because of the long shots. Today complexities are removed from film due to the market. They want familiar plots. The New York Times had an article on the death of cinema. No one knows where films are going. In the future five minute films can be downloaded in the back of a taxi. They know what the box office will be when the film is released. Hollywood has always been about the money not the art. Sergei Eisenstein"s Potemkin opened in the U.S. the same year that Robin Hood was released and Robin Hood took in far more money. I do believe that we are in a time of change. I don't agree with the article on the death of cinema. We will have different ways of telling a story. There is a rise in home entertainment. Cinema has become more of a club. You rarely have people lining up around the block. There is a period of change in politics and economics. Working on Leningrad (Aleksandr Buravsky, Russia/UK/2006) was more like an old time Russian film. It is the Russians telling their story when millions died in World War II. When you look at movies that came out in France, Germany, and the U.K. on WWII, you get a different story from the American ones. The American market is a juggernaut. Everyone is obsessed with how it will play in America. A lot of people in American believe that Braveheart is the story of Scotland, a film riddled with errors. We in Ireland have never had the chance to tell our story.

Q: Why another film on Carver's writings?
A: Raymond Carver (1936-1988) was a powerful writer. Robert Altman's Short Cuts was based on Carver's short stories. Altman chopped up the stories to make the film. Carver's work is so delicate that changing one sentence can change the story. Our writer, Beatrix Christian, was really careful to remain true to Carver. All the levels are there in this film.

Q: It was a good movie but too Australian.
A: I would disagree. It is like saying that an author is too American. Or Joyce is too Irish.

Q: How would you describe Jindabyne?
A: What seems to the three men to be a good response to a problem becomes a moral problem. The audience is with the men at the river so they have a different sense of what happens. The picture of the dead girl may be a problem in Australia. John Howard (Australia's Prime Minister) has refused to apologize for the acts of white people to the indigenous people. The day after Tony Blair's election he sent a letter to be read at a concert I was doing. It was an apology for England's acts to Irish farmers. Films like Jindabyne must have a universal appeal or they do not work.

Q: With so many exceptional Irish actors why has there never been an Irish film of Ireland's history?
A: Outsiders come in to tell the story. Ken Loch's The Wind that Shakes the Barley tells one story. John Ford is responsible for the mythology of Ireland, an immigrant's view of Ireland that never existed. History has become what Hollywood says it is. How much do we know of each other that is certain? There is a huge wealth of talent in Ireland in young actors. When I went to Hollywood they did not know where I was from: Scotland or Ireland. Today actors immediately go to Hollywood to become famous.

We may be making a film soon that is based on a classic Irish book, At Swim Two Birds. All the great Irish actors want to work in this film.

Jindabyne opens in May.

We Need to Hear From YOU

We are always looking for film-related material for the Storyboard. Our enthusiastic and well-traveled members have written about their trips to the Cannes Film Festival, London Film Festival, Venice Film Festival, Telluride Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Edinburgh Film Festival, the Berlin Film Festival, the Munich Film Festival, and the Locarno Film Festival. We also heard about what it's like being an extra in the movies. Have you gone to an interesting film festival? Have a favorite place to see movies that we aren't covering in the Calendar of Events? Seen a movie that blew you away? Read a film-related book? Gone to a film seminar? Interviewed a director? Taken notes at a Q&A? Read an article about something that didn't make our local news media? Send your contributions to Storyboard and share your stories with the membership. And we sincerely thank all our contributors for this issue of Storyboard.

Calendar of Events


American Film Institute Silver Theater
A series of eight new films from China runs May 3-7. Titles include The Banquet, Little Red Flowers, The Go Master, Still Life, Shanghai Dreams, Dam Street, Tuya's Marriage and Exiled. All are from 2006 or 2005.

The AFI takes part in the "Korean Film Festival DC 2007" May 26-June 28 with A Dirty Carnival, Murder Take One, The President's Last Bang and A Bittersweet Life. Other screenings for DC's third Korean Film Festival will take place at the Freer Gallery of Art, the National Museum of Natural History, and the National Museum of Women in the Arts during May and June.

"The Best of Buster Keaton" with live music accompaniment runs from May 6 to June 24. To commemorate John Wayne's centennial is a series of Wayne's westerns including The Big Trail in a restored 70mm print, Stagecoach, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, Rio Grande, Fort Apache, Red River and Rio Bravo. A special show of The Philadelphia Story marks Katharine Hepburn's centennial birthday celebration. "50 Years of Janus Films Part I", a series of classic international films brought to the U.S. by the Janus Films distribution company, starts in May and continues into July with films such as The Lady Vanishes, Beauty and the Beast, Seven Samurai, The Seventh Seal, La Strada, and High and Low. Plus there are more films in the Shakespeare Project. Check the website for exact titles and showtimes.

Freer Gallery of Art
Along with the AFI, Museum of Women in the Arts, and the Museum of Natural History, the Freer Gallery takes part in the "Korean Film Festival DC 2007." Family Ties, Woman on the Beach, The Unforgiven, Before the Summer Passes Away, and Time (recently shown at Filmfest DC) will all be shown in May. All are from 2006. In addition, there is a special event "A Weekend with a Korean Director" on May 18 at 7:00pm and May 20 at 2:00pm. Director Park Jin-pyo will be present to introduce and discuss Too Young to Die (2002) which was banned in Korea and You Are My Sunshine (2005).

On May 19 at 2:00pm Hamid Dabashi will introduce The Runner (Amir Naderi, 1985) and sign copies of his new book Masters and Masterpieces of Iranian Cinema.

National Gallery of Art
A series of Czech films will be screened in May and June. On May 12 at 4:30pm is Faithless Marijka (Vladislav Vancura, 1934), on May 13 at 4:30pm is From Saturday to Sunday (Gustav Machaty, 1931), on May 26 is On the Sunny Side (Vladislav Vancura, 1933), and on May 27 at 5:00pm is The River (Josef Rovensky, 1934). More in June.

Special programs include Seventh Heaven (Frank Borzage, 1927) on May 5 at 4:00pm with Dennis James accompanying; Days of Autumn (Roberto Gavaldon, 1962) on May 6 at 4:30pm, Sergei Paradjanov, The Rebel (Patrick Cazals, 2004) shown with Rouben Mamoulian (Patrick Cazals, 2006) on May 12 at 2:00pm and Crimson Gold (Jafar Panahi, 2003) on May 20 at 4:30pm.

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
On May 3 at 8:00pm is Chris Marker's The Case of the Grinning Cat (2006). On May 8 at 6:30pm as part of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program is the premiere screening of American Pastime (Desmond Nakano, 2007) a drama set during WWII in an internment camp.

National Museum of the American Indian
The "Pacifika Showcase" presents new works from Hawaii and the Pacific. On May 10 at 6:00pm. A feature Naming Number Two (Toa Fraser, 2005) (recently shown at Filmfest DC) and on May 12 at 1:00pm is a program of short films including Rolling Down Like Pele (2004), Kamea (2004), Tama Tu (2005), Polynesian Power: Islanders in Pro Football (2005) profiling two Samoan athletes, and Mauna Kea-Temple Under Siege (2006), about the legends and beliefs surrounding the volcanic mountain. See the website for the complete list.

National Portrait Gallery
On May 10 at 7:00pm is Seven Days in May (John Frankenheimer, 1964) part of the "Reel Portraits" series. After the screening, four-star general Frederick Kroesen will discuss the film.

National Museum of Women in the Arts
On May 1 at 7:00pm is a "May Day Labor Program" with Vicky Funari's docmentary Maquilopolis (2006) about factory workers in Tijuana. On May 30 at 7:00pm as part of "Sisters in Cinema" is Lisa Gay Hamilton's Beah: A Black Woman Speaks (2003) about the African American actress and poet Beah Richards.

Films on the Hill
On May 9 at 7:00pm is Frank Borzage's Lucky Star (1929) starring Janet Gaynor and Charles Farrell. On May 16 at 7:00pm is Moby Dick (Lloyd Bacon, 1930) with the great John Barrymore as Ahab; this version, not exactly faithful to the novel, is unusual in that it has a "backstory" explaining Ahab's obsessed bitterness. On May 23 at 7:00pm is a double feature of two 1930s films: The Meanest Gal in Town (Russell Mack, 1934), a pre-Code comedy with ZaSu Pitts and Black Beauty (Phil Rosen, 1933) an early film version of the beloved book by Anna Sewell.

Washington Jewish Community Center
On May 7 at 7:30pm is The First Zionist Bunny (Shiri Shahar, 2005), a documentary about contestants competing for the role of the first Israeli Playboy Channel hostess. On May 21 at 7:30pm is a program of short films "Song, Dance and a Bit of Romance." Short films include the Academy Award winner for Live Action Short West Bank Story (Ari Sandel, 2005), The Dawn Chorus (Hope Dickson Leach, 2006), The Unchosen Ones: Lost in the Holy Land (Iris Bahr, 2005), and When Erma Made Herman (Alana Cymerman, 2005).

Pickford Theater
More Shakespeare on film will be shown: on May 1 at 7:00pm is Midsummer Night's Dream (1935); on May 4 at 7:00pm is Romeo and Juliet (1936); on May 22 at 7:00pm is Julius Caesar (1953). Check the website for more.

Goethe Institute
The "Politics in Film" film series begins May 14 at 6:30pm with Bye Bye Berlusconi (Jan Henrik Stahlberg, 2006) about Silvio Berlusconi. Lost Children (Ali Samade Ahadi and Oliver Stoltz, 2005), about children abducted and forced to become soldiers, is shown on May 21 at 6:30pm.
More in June.

French Embassy
On May 9 at 7:00pm is The Betrayal (Philippe Faucon, 2005) set during the French-Algerian war. This was previously seen at Arabian Sights.

National Archives
On May 9 at 6:00pm is The Rape of Europa, a documentary about the theft of Europe's art during WWII. After the film, there will be a Q&A with Lynn Nicholas, author of the book The Rape of Europa, Robert M. Edsel, author of Rescuing Da Vinci and co-producer of the film, and Michael J. Kurtz from the National Archives. Two films for kids are on May 5: at 11:00am is An American Tail (1986) and at 2:30pm is Bright Eyes (1934) with Shirley Temple. On May 25 at noon is a program of films from the Army Navy Screen Magazine, a biweekly news, information and entertainment short film designed for servicemen during WWII.

National Museum of Natural History
As part of the "Korean Film Festival DC 2007" is Between (Lee Chang-jae, 2006), a look at the 5,000 year old tradition of Korean shamans, shown on May 18 at noon.

The Avalon
As part of "The Lions of Czech Film" is the black comedy One Hand Can't Clap (David Ondricek, 2003) on May 9 at 8:00pm. As part of the "French Cinémathèque" is Toi et Moi (You and Me, Julie Lopes-Corval, 2006) on May 16 at 8:00pm.

The Corcoran
On May 10 at 7:00pm is the premiere of Do Not Go Gently, a documentary about the power of imagination in aging: three artists who continue to innovate, ranging in age from 82 to 109. A panel discussion follows the film with artists, guests and biographers.

Smithsonian Associates
On May 6 at 1:00pm is Gaz Bar Blues (Louis Bélanger, 2003), part of the "Francophonie" series and winner of the Special Grand Prize of the Jury at the 2003 Montreal World Film Festival.

A series of Japanese films in May starts with The Taste of Tea (Katsuhito Ishii, 2004) on May 8 at 7:00pm. Nobody Knows (Hirokazu Kore-eda, 2004) is on May 15 at 7:00pm and The Hanging Garden (Toshiaki Toyoda, 2005) is on May 22 at 7:00pm.


The GI Film Festival
The GI Film Festival is the first film festival to exclusively celebrate the successes and sacrifices of the American military through the medium of film. Held May 25-28 at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center, the GIFF will present films from new and established filmmakers that honor the heroic stories of the American Armed Forces. Some films are fan favorites and others are premieres. In addition to the feature, documentary, and short films screened--some with directors present for Q&A--there will be panel discussions, educational forums and special events. See the website for more details.

The 7th Annual International Jewish Film Festival
This festival ends on May 3 but you can still see Gloomy Sunday, The First Time I Was Twenty, For Your Consideration, Paper Dolls, Out of Faith, Darian Dilemma and Toots. The locations are Cinema Arts Theater in Fair City Mall, Fairfax; the Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia; Reston Town Center Multiplex; and AMC Loews Fairfax Square.


Smithsonian Resident Associates
On May 1 at 7:00pm is a lecture "Japanese Cinema and the Changing Family." Through lecture and film clips, Tom Vick, film programmer for the Freer Gallery, illuminates the ways Japan's diverse cinema has depicted a changing Japan.

The Phillips Collection
The Phillips Collection's exhibit "Moving Pictures: American Art and Early Film" ends May 20. A few more lectures are taking place during May. On May 11 and May 18 at 11:00am is an introductory talk "Introduction to Moving Pictures: American Art and Early Film." On May 18 at 12:30pm is a film screening of The Great Train Robbery (Edwin S. Porter, 1903).

On May 4 at 6:30pm is the Phillips Collection Annual Gala: "Celebrating the Magic of Art and Film." Check the website for more information.


Smithsonian Associates
A Conversation with Bruce Dern on May 2 at 7:00pm. Bruce Dern has worked with practically every iconic actor and director in the last 50 years, including Alfred Hitchcock, John Frankenheimer, Claude Chabrol, Jack Nicholson, Paul Newman, Bob Dylan, Matt Damon, Charlize Theron, Jane Fonda, and John Wayne. In this program, Dern will take a moment to reflect on his decades in Hollywood. His book, Things I've Said, But Probably Shouldn't Have is available for signing. NOTE: DCFS members receive a discount, details in your e-mail.

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