Indies and Arties: Adrift, With Rifts

January 13, 2010

WITH HIS FILMSAfter Life” and “Nobody Knows,” Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda has proven his talent for wringing maximum drama and emotion from a quiet camera, minimalist dialogue and serenely devastating scenarios. In “Still Walking,” screening on Wednesday at the Japan Information and Culture Center, depicts three generations of a family who come together for a tragic reunion. Bitterness, resentment and grief bubble up as if from a poisonous underground river, exposing the cracks in the family’s polite facade.

» Japan Information and Culture Center, Embassy of Japan, 1155 21st St. NW; Wed., Jan. 20, free with reservations; jiccrsvp@embjapan.org. (Dupont Circle)

Witness to a Pilgrimage
About 3 million Muslims make the Hajj from all corners of the world, but most non-Muslims have no idea what this journey of the faithful entails or what it looks like at the end. Now, film fans can accompany a great explorer on his pilgrimage to Mecca before planes, trains and automobiles helped smooth the path. “Journey to Mecca,” opening at the Smithsonian’s Johnson Theater on Thursday, re-creates the 1325 trek made by geographer Ibn Battuta, who set out from Tangiers and endured physical hardship for great spiritual rewards.

» Johnson Theater, Natural History Museum, 10th Street & Constitution Avenue NW; through March 3; $8.75.

Photo courtesy IFC Films

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Greg Barber · January 13, 2010