FRIDAY, AUGUST 8
VIEW FROM A GRAIN OF SAND Three Afghan women struggle to survive in their war-torn and religion-tormented country in this documentary. (2006, 82 min) Shown with KABUL GIRLS CLUB, a short documentary about an attempt to organize a soccer clinic for young Afghan women. (2007, 25 min) 2:30 pm, National Gallery of Art East Building auditorium. Free.
LAWRENCE OF ARABIA David Lean's defining film, this epic adaptation of T.E. Lawrence's memoir stars Peter O'Toole as the sort of world-beating Brit who works out his personal struggles on a geopolitical scale, rallying local Arabs against the Ottoman Empire during Word War I. (1962, 216 min) (Also Aug. 9-14) 3 pm, American Film Institute Silver Theater, 8633 Colesville Rd. $9.75
KILL! Rarely screened, and for good reason, this gory and nihilistic action flick was written and directed by noted (if somewhat nutty) French novelist Romain Gary, and stars his wife, Jean Seberg. She plays the restless wife of an Interpol agent, who takes up with a vigilante who systematically exterminates drug smugglers. (1972, 113 min) 7 pm, Mary Pickford Theater, Library of Congress Madison Building, Third Floor, 101 Independence Ave. SE. Free; call 202-707-5677 for reservations.
SHAOLIN SOCCER After much Miramax tinkering, writer-director-star Stephen Chow's neo-slapstick comedy runs a fast-paced 87 minutes, roughly a half hour shorter than the version that set box-office records in Hong Kong. Quickly introduced are hobbled former soccer star "Golden Leg" Fung (Ng Man Tat) and his nemesis Hung (Patrick Tse Yin). Then Fung meets "Steel Leg" Sing (Chow), a dispossessed Shaolin kung fu disciple. Offered the incentive of a $1 million soccer tournament prize — and the chance to impress shy chef Mui (Vicki Zhao), who uses kung fu techniques to make buns — Sing reassembles his old cadre of Shaolin students to face Hung's squad, amusingly known as Team Evil. The movie is amiable enough, and a lot less pretentious than most Hollywood sports flicks. But it's not very funny, and the action relies so heavily on computer animation that the physical humor has no kick. (2001, 87 min) (Also Aug. 10) 7 pm, Freer/Sackler Galleries, 12th & Constitution Ave SW. Free; tickets distributed one hour before screening.
HAIR Milos Forman offers a surprisingly serious — maybe too serious, in places — post-Vietnam filming of the hippie-era musical, much of which was reworked last year (with better songs) as Across the Universe. (1979, 121 min) (Also Aug. 9) 7:20 pm, American Film Institute Silver Theater, 8633 Colesville Rd. $9.75
TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE Spielberg directed one of the four episodes (three of them remakes) in this not really necessary tribute to the TV series. (1983, 101 min) (Also Aug. 11) 9:45 pm, American Film Institute Silver Theater, 8633 Colesville Rd. $9.75
THE THING In this uninspired John Carpenter update of a '50s flick, The Thing from Another World, a group of scientists in Antarctica are picked off by a shape-changing alien. (1982, 109 min) (Also Aug. 9, 13, & 14) midnight, American Film Institute Silver Theater, 8633 Colesville Rd. $9.75
SATURDAY, AUGUST 9
THE CANDIDATE Robert Redford plays the title character, a well-meaning lawyer who enters the meat-grinder of electoral politics, in Michael Richie's still-relevant drama. (1972, 109 min) Noon, National Archives, 700 Pennsylvania Ave NW. Free.
A BETTER WORLD: LIVING IN HARMONY A collection of shorts from the Muppet factory. (1983-89, 90 min) 1 pm, American Film Institute Silver Theater, 8633 Colesville Rd. $9.75
BEAUTY ACADEMY OF KABUL In this documentary, American experts teach hair and makeup skills in to Afghan women, offering possible careers that won't bring the women into the male world. (2004, 74 min) noon, National Gallery of Art East Building auditorium. 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.
UNDERWORLD The Alloy Orchestra performs its new score for this Josef von Sternberg gangland picture, which was based on scripter Ben Hecht's experiences as a Chicago crime reporter. (1927, 80 min) 4:30 pm, National Gallery of Art East Building auditorium. Free.
THE GOONIES Directed by Richard Donner but clearly shaped by uncredited story writer Steve Spielberg, this box-office hit is another of the latter's tales of threatened children and weird criminals. (1985, 114 min) Sponsored by Mount Pleasant Main Street. 9 pm in Lamont St. Park, Lamont & Mt. Pleasant Sts. NW. Rain date: Aug. 10, 8:30 pm. Free.
POLTERGEIST Directed by Tobe Hopper but clearly shaped by writer-producer Steve Spielberg, this box-office hit is another of the latter's tales of threatened children and weird creatures. 9:45 pm, American Film Institute Silver Theater, 8633 Colesville Rd. $9.75
SUNDAY, AUGUST 10
SOME MOTHER'S SON Director Terry George actually did time in Northern Ireland's notorious Maze/Long Kesh prison, yet this is not so an angry film as In the Name of the Father, which he also co-wrote with Jim Sheridan. That's because the center this time is the parent rather than the child: The film follows proper, middle-class Kathleen Quigley (Helen Mirren) and angry, lower-class Annie Higgins (Fionnula Flanagan) as their sons (Aidan Gillen and David O'Hara) starve themselves to seemingly inevitable death in the 1981 I.R.A. hunger strike. It includes some historical characters, notably strike leader Bobby Sands (John Lynch), but the Quigleys and the Higgins are fictional, a reflection of some mother's — every mother's — dilemma during times of civil war. Like Costa-Gavras' Missing, another artful, sophisticated propaganda film, this is fundamentally the story of a moderate's radicalization. The initial opposition between Kathleen and Annie could hardly be more schematic, but Mirren and Flanagan's performances give full human dimension to these archetypes. With a lecture by and discussion with former Washington Post film reviewer Desson Thomson. 10 am, Avalon Theater, 5612 Connecticut Ave NW. $15.
MUPPET FAIRY TALES Such classic fairy tales as The Frog Prince, as reinterpreted by Muppets. (1971-94, 105 min) 12:45 pm, American Film Institute Silver Theater, 8633 Colesville Rd. $9.75
L'AVVENTURA Antonioni's breakthrough film, and arguably his best, is this haunting, impeccably composed tale of a woman who vanishes, and the friend (Monica Vitti) who searches for her in vain. (1960, 145 min) (Also August 10) 4:30 pm, National Gallery of Art East Building auditorium. Free.
ELECTION Hong Kong director Johnnie To's bleakly powerful 2005 gangland drama can be seen by itself, but is more potent as a prelude to 2006's Triad Election. Every two years, the elders of the Wo Sing triad vote for the chairman who will lead their racketeering operations. The Wo Sing traditions are thus a matter of great honor, and yet the campaigns for the triad's chairmanship are short on honorableness; they involve bribery, intimidation, and more than a little murder. This film's central battle is between the strutting Big D (Tony Leung Ka-fai) and the seemingly mild-mannered Lok (Simon Yam), a single father who's devoted to his preteen son. Their competition becomes a race to find Wo Sing's symbol of authority, a dragon's head baton that's hidden over the border in China. Throughout the action, which is graceless and not at all romanticized, Lok observes with what seems to be ironically amused distance. Not until the final minutes does he reveal the true extent of his ruthlessness, and his detachment becomes all the more chilling. (Also Aug. 11) 9:45 pm, American Film Institute Silver Theater, 8633 Colesville Rd. $9.75
MONDAY, AUGUST 11
LATE BLOOMERS I wonder if Die Herbstzeitlosen, the original Swiss title, offers the same delightful double-entendre as the English. (Online translators were no help.) Because, in fact, the story concerns both dreams delayed and undies. A small-town widow copes with the death of her husband by rekindling her passion for sewing — and turning his staid shop into a fancy lingerie store. Of course, most of the conservative townsfolk are scandalized. The widow's son, the vicar, advises that it's "never too late to turn back." But it's a foregone conclusion that this tiny and charming rebellion will succeed. For one, Switzerland is too beautiful for anyone to be unhappy there, right? As the elderly shenanigans unfolded, my wife observed, "This is sooo much better than Steel Magnolias." (Dave Nuttycombe) 6:30 pm, Goethe-Institut, 812 Seventh St NW. $6.
WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE? In this camp favorite, Bette Davis plays against Joan Crawford in a trashy tale of two ex-actress sisters who live together most unhappily. (1962, 134 min) National Theater, 1321 Pennsylvania Ave NW. Free; tickets distributed a half hour before screening.
SUPERMAN This competently made but dull movie is notable for establishing the template for all subsequent films that take superhero comics way too seriously. (1978, 143 min) Sunset, Screen on the Green, the Mall near Constitution Ave & 4th St. Free. 877 262 5866.
TUESDAY, AUGUST 12
GLASSMAKERS OF HERAT This short documents a tiny Afghan glass workshop that still uses techniques employed 3,000 years ago. (1979, 26 min) Noon, National Gallery of Art East Building auditorium. Free.
RIDING GIANTS Directed by professional skateboarder Stacy Peralta, this documentary reconstructs the history of big wave surfing. (2004, 105 min) 7 pm, Mary Pickford Theater, Library of Congress Madison Building, Third Floor, 101 Independence Ave. SE. Free; call 202-707-5677 for reservations.
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 13
THE ROOF The unfinished roof on his family's house serves as a metaphor for disrupted family and occupied homeland in Palestinian filmmaker Kamal Al Jafari's first-person documentary. (2007, 61 min) 6:30 pm, Jerusalem Fund, 2425 Virginia Ave NW. Free.
REIGN OVER ME Post-traumatic Stress Disorder is the theme of tonight's NIH-sponsored film, in which Adam Sandler plays a man who lost his family in the World Trade Center assault. NIH guest speakers will discuss the topic after the screening. 7 pm, American Film Institute Silver Theater, 8633 Colesville Rd. $9.75
COZY DENS Two families live in the same house, not all that cozily, in Jan (Beauty in Trouble) Hrebejk's serious-minded farce, set in Czechoslovakia just before the 1968 Soviet crackdown on the country's liberalization. (1999, 116 min) 8 pm, Avalon Theater, 5612 Connecticut Ave NW. $10.
THURSDAY, AUGUST 14
HATSU-YUME Bill Viola's film, whose title is Japanese for "first dream," is a personal and lyrical essay on Japanese culture. (1981, 56 min) 6 pm, Smithsonian American Art Museum, McEvoy Auditorium, 8th & G Sts NW. Free.
RED DUST Jean Harlow plays a lady with a bad reputation and excellent composure, now marooned at a rubber plantation in Indochina, in this example of the sexually candid pre-Code melodrama. (1932, 83 min) Shown with another pre-Code flick, SAFE IN HELL, with a similar plot: a New Orleans prostitute lands in a Caribbean hotel full of testosterone-oozing criminals. (1931, 65 min) Preceded by A GREAT BIG BUNCH OF YOU, a Merrie Melodies cartoon featuring musically inclined junkyard inhabitants. (1932, 7 min) 7 pm, Mary Pickford Theater, Library of Congress Madison Building, Third Floor, 101 Independence Ave. SE. Free; call 202-707-5677 for reservations.
LOS ZAFIROS: MUSIC FROM THE EDGE OF TIME This documentary reconstructs the career of Los Zafiros (the Sapphires), a wildly popular Cuban group that toured the world (although not the U.S., of course). Filmmaker Lorenzo Destefano will attend the screening. Part of the Urban Film Series. 7 pm, Landmark E Street, 11th & E Sts NW. $10.