Filmfest DC Unspools Tonight
Tonight, April 20, is the opening night of the 31st annual Filmfest DC, which runs through April 30. At 7 p.m., there will be a screening at the AMC Mazza Gallerie Theatre of “This Is Our Land,” directed by Lucas Belvaux and set in a mining town in northern France. According to the festival blurb: “Pauline, a popular nurse, is offered the candidacy for mayor by a far-right political party, but soon learns she’s merely a puppet candidate for those spouting nationalism and isolationism.” A reception follows. Tickets are $45.
The 80 films from 45 countries are divided into thematic sections: Justice Matters, dealing with social issues; the new Division & Debate, “exploring timely contentious issues”; The Lighter Side (self-explanatory); Trust No One, focusing on espionage; Rhythms On & Off the Screen, showcasing music; and World View, providing international perspectives.
Under the Rhythms On & Off the Screen heading is a Global Blues subsection with three documentaries: “I Am the Blues,” a U.S. and Canada production directed by Daniel Cross featuring elderly musicians in the Deep South; “Mali Blues,” a German production directed by Lutz Gregor; and “Two Trains Runnin’,” a U.S. production about the Freedom Summer of 1964 directed by Sam Pollard and narrated by Common. In “Mali Blues,” the director “follows a quartet of Mali musicians — Fatoumata Diawara, Bassekou Kouyaté, rapper Master Soumy, and Ahmed Ag Kaedi — now exiled from the political instability in the north, where Islamist extremists have banned music and threaten to cut off musicians’ fingers.”
During the festival, a number of the directors will participate in post-screening Q&As. For the complete lineup, visit filmfestdc.org.
In addition to the Mazza Gallerie venue, films will be screened at E Street Cinema, the National Gallery of Art and the Embassy of France, where the April 30 closing-night screening of “Lost in Paris,” a comedy by Fiona Gordon and Dominique Abel, will take place, along with a reception. Tickets are $25.
Tickets to individual screenings are generally $13 in advance and $14 at the theater. Discount packages (advance sales only) include a Director's Package of 10 tickets for $100 plus a $5 convenience fee and a Weekday Package of 4 tickets for $45 plus a $3 convenience fee, valid for Monday through Thursday screenings.