FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 12
FOREIGN INTRIGUE With a trenchcoat-wearing Robert Mitchum its only American cast member, and shot in Vienna, Paris, the Riviera, and Stockholm and environs, this Cold War intrigue is foreign indeed. (1956, 106 min) 7 pm, Films on the Hill, Capitol Hill Arts Workshop, 545 Seventh Street, SE. $5.
GONE SHOPPING This fanciful satire follows three characters over three days in a shopping mall in Singapore — a city-state that has itself been described as a giant shopping mall. (2007, 100 min) 7 pm, Freer/Sackler Galleries, 12th & Independence Ave SW. Free; tickets distributed one hour before screening.
WHAT A CRAZY WORLD! East London rocker Joe Brown, who's little known in the U.S., plays a misfit who hopes that a music career will transform his life, in this adaptation of Alan Klein's musical play. Marty Wilde and Freddie and the Dreamers also appear. (1963, 88 min) Shown with DON'T KNOCK THE ROCK, a British TV special featuring Gene Vincent, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, and the Animals. (1964, 52 min) 7 pm, Mary Pickford Theater, Library of Congress Madison Building, Third Floor, 101 Independence Ave. SE. Free; call 202-707-5677 for reservations.
ZABRISKIE POINT Michelangelo Antonioni's film brought an European mime-troupe sensibility to anti-Vietnam-war American youth culture, disappointing nearly everyone at the time. The script — credited to Sam Shepherd, Claire Peploe, Tonio Guerra, Fred Gardner, and the director — is a mess. But the images are spectacular, especially once the film leaves L.A. for the desert, and the concluding slo-mo shot is unforgettable. (1970, 100 min) (Also Sept. 13, 14) 9:30 pm, American Film Institute Silver Theater, 8633 Colesville Rd. $9.75
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 13
THE MUPPET MOVIE The 'ppets head for Hollywood in this cameo-stuffed musical comedy. (1979, 97 min) (Also Sept. 14) noon, American Film Institute Silver Theater, 8633 Colesville Rd. $9.75
DAY OF DESPAIR Manoel de Oliveira's documentary-style speculation depicts the hours leading to the mysterious death of 19th-century Portuguese writer Camilo Castelo Branco. (1992, 75 min) 12:30 pm, National Gallery of Art East Building auditorium. Free.
THE LAST CONQUISTADOR After sculptor John Sherill Houser was hired to create a massive sculpture of a Spanish conquistador, debate erupted over the subject's worthiness for the honor. Co-director John Valadez, whose film charts the controversy, will discuss the documentary after this screening. 3 pm, National Gallery of Art East Building auditorium. Free.
THE PASSENGER This 1975 arthouse hit is the third (and last) of Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni's Anglo-American features, after Blow-Up and Zabriskie Point. All three place a socio-political frame around the director's worldview, but don't fundamentally alter his conception of reality as unknowable and the distance between people as unbridgeable. Covering a civil war in Chad, journalist David Locke (Jack Nicholson) is quietly weary of his life, his profession, and his marriage. When he finds that his desert hotel's other English-speaking guest is dead, he switches identities. The dead man's profession is a mystery, but his itinerary is not. Locke follows his appointment schedule to Munich and Barcelona, where he meets the Girl (Maria Schneider) and they begin a '70s art-film romance: casual, but intense. The past overtakes David in the extraordinary concluding scene, an extended single take that loops out of a hotel room and then back in again. The middle sometimes falters, but the film opens and closes in Antonioni's private universe, characterized by a sense of emptiness and deft staging and compositions. (also Sept. 14-16) 4:30 pm, American Film Institute Silver Theater, 8633 Colesville Rd. $9.75
READYMADE FILM FEST This collection of independently made shorts, already screened in L.A., includes documentary, drama, animation, and experimental fare. Sponsored by the Readymade Film Fest. Dusk, Ellington Apartments rooftop terrace, 1301 U St NW. $5.
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 14
CINEMATIC COLLABORATION: WOODY ALLEN AND MIA FARROW Film historian Max Alvarez discusses the director/muse relationship of — yikes! — Woody Allen and Mia Farrow, with film clips to illustrate the talk. 1 pm, Smithsonian S. Dillon Ripley Center $25.
SLINGSHOT This vivid, violent thriller depicts the Philippines's various underworlds, from criminal gangland mobsters to makeshift shantytowns. (2007, 86 min) 2 pm, Freer/Sackler Galleries, 12th & Independence Ave SW. Free; tickets distributed one hour before screening.
RASHOMON Akira Kurosawa's international breakthrough is most often cited as the film that put Japanese cinema on the map, winning the Grand Prize at the 1951 Venice Film festival and a Best Foreign Film Oscar. But its ambiguous narrative, shifting viewpoints, and stylistic mix were also a crucial influence on the French new novelists and new-wave directors (especially Alain Resnais), inspiring a mode of film noir mystification that continued in movies like The Usual Suspects. Told in flashbacks, this is the story of a bandit (Toshiro Mifune) who rapes a woman (Machiko Kyu) in an attack that leaves her husband (Masayuki Mori) dead. There are three different accounts of how he died, each offered by one of the participants. (The slain man's testimony is eerily presented by a medium.) Then a witness (Takashi Shimura) offers his own version of the incident. If the film's devices seem less compelling today, that's just because they've been so widely emulated. (1950, 88 min) (Also Sept. 15-16) 3 pm, American Film Institute Silver Theater, 8633 Colesville Rd. $9.75
THE CONVENT A professor (John Malkovich) and his wife (Catherine Deneuve) arrive at a remote Portuguese convent to research the offbeat theory that Shakespeare was in fact a Spanish Jew. Sexual intrigue ensues, although some critics protest that director Manoel de Oliveira undermines what could have been an effective thriller with too many self-conscious references to literature and mythology. (1995, 93 min) 4:30 pm, National Gallery of Art East Building auditorium. Free.
INVISIBLE CITY Tan Pin Pin's Documentary digs beneath Singapore's glimmering surfaces in search of forgotten history. (2007, 60 min) 4 pm, Freer/Sackler Galleries, 12th & Independence Ave SW. Free; tickets distributed one hour before screening.
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 15
IN DANGER AND DEEP DISTRESS, THE MIDDLEWAY SPELLS CERTAIN DEATH Alexander Kluge's film, made with Edgar Reitz, mixes crime and spy stories with documentary footage of Frankfurt and a political party congress. (1974, 86 min) 6:30 pm, Goethe-Institut, 812 Seventh St NW. $6.
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 16
A GLIMPSE OF DE KOONING In this short, the painter discusses his style with cohort Franz Kline and critic Harold Rosenberg. (1968, 20 min) noon, National Gallery of Art East Building auditorium. Free.
SLEEP DEALER In this U.S./Mexico co-production, set in a Matrix-like hyper-regulated future, an Oaxaca farmer tries to break loose of military-industrial control. Director Alex Rivera will introduce the film. (2008, 90 mins) (Also July 17 at AFI) 6:45 pm, Inter-American Development Bank, 1330 New York Ave NW. Free; first-come, first-seated. Photo ID required.
THE FRENCH LIEUTENANT'S WOMAN For this adaptation of John Fowles's novel, directed by Karel Reisz, scripter Harold Pinter introduced parallel stories to suggest the book's complexity. So Meryl Streep and Jeremy Irons play both 19th-century lovers and the actors portraying them. (1981, 124 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, SEPTEMBER 17
ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST The lunatic — Jack Nicholson, of course — attempts to take over the asylum in Milos Forman's adaptation of Ken Kesey's novel. (1975, 134 min) 6 pm, Smithsonian American Art Museum, McEvoy Auditorium, 8th & G Sts NW. Free.
KIKUJIRU Japanese writer-director-star Takeshi "Beat" Kitano hits the road with a nine-year-old in this hard-boiled sentimental comedy. The roguish Kikujiru, who seems to be an unemployed gangster, is enlisted to take lonely, friendless Masao (Yusuke Sekiguchi) to the beach. Instead, Kikujiru — known to the boy only as "Mister" — loses the kid's travel money at a bicycling-race track, and then tacitly agrees to take him on a quest: The boy wants to find the mother he doesn't ever remember knowing. The story is presented in a deliberately episodic style that suggests both silent-film comedies and traditional Japanese art's preference for the abstract and the indirect. Kitano, who edits his own films, often cuts directly from confrontation to aftermath, which not only banishes violence from the screen but also establishes a distinctive rhythm. Although it certainly seems like it will, Kikujiru never quite becomes the tale of a grump who's mellowed by a kid. Perhaps that's because Kitano's model for the gruff, self-absorbed Kikujiru was his own father. (1998, 121 min) 6:30 pm, Japanese Information and Culture Center, 1155 21st St NW. Free; reservations required. RSVP to email@example.com
ALL IS FORGIVEN Eleven years after her father abandoned his family, 17-year-old Pamela decides to meet him again. French director Mia Hansen-Love's film, won awards both for best actress and best first feature. (2007, 105 min) 8 pm, Avalon Theater, 5612 Connecticut Ave NW. $10.
ALL INCLUSIVE While ostensibly reconnecting on a package vacation in Mexico, the members of a Chilean family head in separate directions, mostly in pursuit of sex. (2008, 95 min) (Also Sept. 20) 9:30 pm, American Film Institute Silver Theater, 8633 Colesville Rd. $9.75
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 18
THE AMAZING DOBERMANS In this odd kiddie flick, Fred Astaire is an ex-con who controls five crime-fighting Doberman pinchers. (1976, 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.
THE SIGNAL An Argentinian box-office hit, this is a tale of small-time detectives during the Eva Peron era. (2007, 95 min) (Also Sept. 23) 7 pm, American Film Institute Silver Theater, 8633 Colesville Rd. $9.75
WHOSE GARTER BELT IS THIS? In 1980s Argentina, a woman tries to reconcile a friend and her straying boyfriend, leading to comic complications. (2007, 107 min) (Also Sept. 20) 9 pm, American Film Institute Silver Theater, 8633 Colesville Rd. $9.75