FRIDAY, JULY 18
SLAPSTICON Day two of this annual celebration of early cinematic funnies includes such programs as "Kids 'N' Animals," "The Sennett Spot," and "Late Night Langdon." 9 am-10 pm, Rosslyn Spectrum, 1611 N. Kent St. $99 for four days; $16 for half day. e-mail: email@example.com.
THE KITE RUNNER In Hollywood's latest ode to atonement, a cowardly Afghan boy grows into a man who must bravely return to his Taliban-ravaged homeland. Director Marc (Finding Neverland) Forster's evocative but ultimately too reverent adaptation of Khaled Hosseini's novel is equal to its source — it goes wrong at the same point the book does. The story opens in 2000 in San Francisco, but quickly rewinds to 1978, when Amir (Zekiria Ebrahimi) is a boy who lives in Kabul. His closest companion is Hassan (Ahmad Khan Mahmoodzada), the son of a household servant. Hassan is the title character, blessed with a supernatural ability to find kites downed in airborne battles. He's fiercely loyal to Amir, who betrays him after a humiliating incident. Years later, the grown Amir (Khalid Abdalla) makes amends by rescuing Hassan's son Sohrab (Ali Danesh Bakhtyari). This feat is implausible in the book, and even less believable in the movie's compressed, less bloody telling. Amir's quest is supposed to be a dangerous ordeal, but it's resolved so easily that this climactic sequence undercuts the film's seriousness. (2007, 128 min) 2:30 pm, National Gallery of Art East Building auditorium. Free.
GREAT EXPECTATIONS Lean does Dickens, and quickly, with Alec Guinness, Jean Simmons, and John Mills on board. (1945, 86 min) (Also July 19, 22 & 24) 4:30 pm, American Film Institute Silver Theater, 8633 Colesville Rd. $9.75
THIS LAND IS ME: TRUDELL Cherokee filmmaker Heather Rae's documentary sketches the life of poet, activist, and rocker John Trudell. (2004, 80 min) 6:30 pm, National Museum of the American Indian, 4th Street & Independence Ave SW. Free.
MY NAME IS FAME Lawrence Lau's showbiz fable is a Hong Kong version of A Star is Born, minus the melodrama. Middle-aged actor Fai (the great Lau Ching-wan) is watching his career fade, mostly because he's so disagreeable on the set. When Fai is approached by a young aspiring actress, beautiful but unskilled Fei (Huo Si-yan), he's predictably dismissive. Yet Fai reluctantly begins to give Fei tips, and soon he's her manager. Strong feelings develop between the two, but as Fei's career blossoms, she puts that first. Left alone when Fei goes to make an upscale erotic film in Japan, Fai doesn't fall apart. Quite the contrary, in fact, which is why film ends with a mellow glow rather than a dramatic firestorm. Fans of HK cinema should be mildly charmed, especially since the movie features cameos by actor Tony Leung and directors Gordon Chan, Ann Hui, and Fruit Chan. (2006, 94 min) (Also July 20) 7 pm, Freer/Sackler Galleries, 12th & Constitution Ave SW. Free; tickets distributed one hour before screening.
CRIME WAVE When a simple robbery of a gas station is complicated by the murder of a cop, the gang looks for sanctuary with an ex-con who's trying to go straight. Andre De Toth's film is notable for its camera work and L.A. County locations. (1954, 73 min) 7 pm, Mary Pickford Theater, Library of Congress Madison Building, Third Floor, 101 Independence Ave. SE. Free; call 202-707-5677 for reservations.
1941 All of Steven Spielberg's films are mechanical, but the gears and pulleys are especially obvious in this alleged comedy, the director's most conspicuous flop. Set during a Japanese attack on Southern California, the movie is an impressive piece of production design, and full of affectionate detail. The labored style, however, is incompatible with laughter. 7 pm, American Film Institute Silver Theater, 8633 Colesville Rd. $9.75
BETTER OFF DEAD Dumped by his girlfriend, despondent high schooler John Cusack takes some big risks — and ends up with a pretty French exchange student. (1985, 97 min) (Also July 19) 9:30 pm, American Film Institute Silver Theater, 8633 Colesville Rd. $9.75
ONE CRAZY SUMMER Young Cusack again, this time as a recent high school graduate who enters a boat race to save the home of Demi Moore's grandfather. (1986, 89 min) 11:30 pm, American Film Institute Silver Theater, 8633 Colesville Rd. $9.75
SATURDAY, JULY 19
SLAPSTICON Day three of this annual celebration of early cinematic funnies includes such programs as "Hal Roach Rarities" and "Talkie Shorts," as well as a never-released Harry Langdon documentary. 9 am-10 pm, Rosslyn Spectrum, 1611 N. Kent St. $99 for four days; $16 for half day. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
THE SENATOR WAS INDISCREET A politician's diary leads to trouble in this satire, the only film directed by playwright and screenwriter George S. Kaufman. (1947, 74 min) Noon, National Archives, 700 Pennsylvania Ave NW. Free.
MUPPET MUSIC MOMENTS This collection of tuneful shorts includes Harry Belafonte, Elton John, and various Muppets. 1 pm, American Film Institute Silver Theater, 8633 Colesville Rd. $9.75
MICHELANGELO ANTONIONI Made for Italian TV, this profile includes interviews with some of the director's favored actors. Director Luca Verdone will appear at this screening. (2005, 60 min) 2 pm, National Gallery of Art East Building auditorium. Free.
THE JACKIE ROBINSON STORY Baseball color-bar breaker Robinson plays himself in this account of progress from childhood to the Brooklyn Dodgers. (1950, 76 min) 2 pm, Historical Society of Washington, D.C. 801 K St NW. Free.
REPETITION This film restages 1971's Stanford Prison Experiment, but the presence of cameras changes the result. (2005, 75 min) Shown with THE BATTLE OF ORGREAVE, a reenactment of a 1984 clash between striking British miners and police and a consideration of how televised images of the strike affected public opinion. (2001, 63 min) 3 & 4:45 pm, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays through Sept. 6, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, 7th St & Independence Ave SW. Free.
THE VANQUISHED Antonioni's early film features three interlocking tales of hubris, shot in three different countries. (1952, 110 min) 4:30 pm, National Gallery of Art East Building auditorium. Free.
THE FIREMEN'S BALL A small-town firemen's party turns to chaos in Milos Forman's political allegory. It was banned in Czechoslovakia, which Forman soon left. (1967, 71 min) (Also July 21) 5:25 pm, American Film Institute Silver Theater, 8633 Colesville Rd. $9.75
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND Never mind War of the Worlds. Mankind, specifically Richard Dreyfuss and Francois Truffaut, goes searching for benign aliens in Spielberg's first ET flick. 7:05 pm, American Film Institute Silver Theater, 8633 Colesville Rd. $9.75
SUNDAY, JULY 20
SLAPSTICON The final day of this annual celebration of early cinematic funnies includes "More Talkie Shorts," and short films featuring Douglas Fairbanks Sr., Charley Chase, and Harry Langdon. 10 am-3:30 pm, Rosslyn Spectrum, 1611 N. Kent St. $99 for four days; $16 for half day. e-mail: email@example.com.
NEW VIDEO ART FROM AFGHANISTAN Video art? Afghanistan? Well, actually many of the pieces are by Afghani-Americans, and address the issue of media images of the Taliban-afflicted country. (75 min) 4:30 pm, National Gallery of Art East Building auditorium. Free.
TAKING OFF Chasing their runaway daughter, a couple takes an unintended tour of the early-'70s American counterculture in Czech-bred director Milos Forman's satire of life in his adopted homeland. (1971, 93 min) (Also July 22) 5:40 pm, American Film Institute Silver Theater, 8633 Colesville Rd. $9.75
HEAVEN CAN WAIT In this '70s remake, co-director Warren Beatty plays a dead quarterback who returns in another man's body, and proceeds to pursue Julie Christie. (1978, 101 min) (Also July 22) 7:40 pm, American Film Institute Silver Theater, 8633 Colesville Rd. $9.75
FULLTIME KILLER A soulful-hitman fantasia that borrows from John Woo, Wong Kai-wai, and Suzuki Seijun, this is among the most deliriously idiosyncratic works in the canon of co-directors Johnnie To and Ka-Fai Wai. Among the many odd touches is that, although the film is set primarily in Hong Kong, much of the dialogue is in Japanese. Asia's leading assassin, known only as O (Takashi Sorimachi) is Japanese, and aspiring killer Tok (Andy Lau) is learning the language as part of his emulation. Both men get involved with Chin (Kelly Lin), who works at a video store specializing in Japanese fare. Stuffed with cinematic references and clogged with plot, the movie is too self-conscious to stand alone, but loads of fun for fans of flash, action, and in-jokes. (2001, 102 min) (Also Jul 21) 9:45 pm, American Film Institute Silver Theater, 8633 Colesville Rd. $9.75
MONDAY, JULY 21
THE LETTER In William Wyler's Malaysia-set melodrama, Bette Davis plays a woman who killed her lover, and now needs her husband's help to beat a murder charge. (1940, 95 min) 6:30 pm, National Theater, 1321 Pennsylvania Ave NW. Free; tickets distributed a half hour before screening.
IN TREATMENT A sensation in Israel before being remade for HBO, the original of this series offers sex and death on a TV budget: In each half-hour episode, psychologist Ruben Dagan meets with a person who has traffic-stopping issues. In the first installment, the patient is a young woman who confesses to a sordid sexual encounter in a unisex bathroom — which she regrets not because she loves her boyfriend, but because she has a mad crush on Dagan. In the second, the shrink tries to counsel an Israeli Air Force pilot who just hit "the wrong people" in a West Bank aerial bombing, and now wants Dagan's permission to visit the scene of his lethal error. This two-part program, which concludes July 28, presents the first five episodes of the show, each featuring pungent dialogue and head-spinning dilemmas. No wonder every five-show suite concludes with Dagan's visit to his own therapist. 7 pm, Washington DC Jewish Community Center, 1529 16th Street NW. $10.
THE CANDIDATE In one of the smarter U.S. films about big-league politics, Robert Redford plays an idealistic presidential contender who gradually embraces compromise. Sunset, the Mall near Constitution Ave & 4th St. Free. 877 262 5866.
TUESDAY, JULY 22
EXODUS: THE MARGINS OF THE EMPIRE This program of works from Barcelona's 2008 OVNI (Unidentifiable Video Observatory) video festival offers "perspectives in different forms of marginalization and exploitation." (Also July 23-24) 6:30, National Museum of Women in the Arts, 1250 New York Ave NW. $5.
THE ENDLESS SUMMER Bruce Brown's board-riding travelogue, the '60s youth-cult classic that sold a million orange-hued posters, begins the Pickford's "summer surfing" series. (1966, 91 min) Shown with an episode of beach-bunny TV series Gidget and the trailer for Big Wednesday, John Milius's 1978 surfer bildungsroman. 7 pm, Mary Pickford Theater, Library of Congress Madison Building, Third Floor, 101 Independence Ave. SE. Free; call 202-707-5677 for reservations.
WEDNESDAY, JULY 23
23RD PSALM BRANCH: PART II Stan Brakhage's anti-war film contrasts clips from World War II newsreels with scenes of Colorado and images painted directly on the celluloid. (1978, 41 min) 6 pm, Smithsonian American Art Museum, McEvoy Auditorium, 8th & G Sts NW. Free.
SWINGS This documentary film profiles Palestinian women on both sides of the "green line" between Israel and its occupied territory; they discuss the difficulties of women in Palestinian society and under Israeli rule. (2007, 98 min) 6:30 pm, 9:45 pm, American Film Institute Silver Theater, 8633 Colesville Rd. $9.75
THE IRON MISTRESS In this historical drama, Jim Bowie arrives in New Orleans and dabbles in society, love, business, and gambling. Bowie is the guy for whom the double-edged knife is named, and it's that weapon — not a tough N'awlins belle — that gives the film its title. (1952, 110 min) Shown with Confederate Honey, a cartoon that mocks Gone With the Wind. 7 pm, Films on the Hill, Capitol Hill Arts Workshop, 545 Seventh Street, SE. $5.
CANVAS Writer-director Joseph Greco's autobiographical drama charts the effect on a woman's paranoid schizophrenia on her husband and 11-year-old son. (2006, 101 min) 7 pm, 9:45 pm, American Film Institute Silver Theater, 8633 Colesville Rd. $9.75
THURSDAY, JULY 24
MOVING PERSPECTIVES: YANG FUDONG: SEVEN INTELLECTUALS IN THE BAMBOO FOREST, PART 1: VIDEO This video piece offers a contemporary version of a classic Chinese tale. (2003, 30 min) Shown continuously, 11 am-8 pm, Freer/Sackler Galleries. Free
NEW YORK IS NOW Paul Miller (aka DJ Spooky) adds his own art-hop score to a montage of archival and early avant-garde footage to create "an exploration of memory." Miller, a D.C. native, will discuss his film after the screening. 7 pm, Smithsonian American Art Museum, McEvoy Auditorium, 8th & G Sts NW. Free.
THE KEEP The historical evil of the Nazis meets the sort of supernatural evil prized by Hollywood, plus a Tangerine Dream score, in Michael Mann's rarely screened cult thriller. (1983, 96 min) 7 pm, Mary Pickford Theater, Library of Congress Madison Building, Third Floor, 101 Independence Ave. SE. Free; call 202-707-5677 for reservations.