Green movies and some lovesick blues
By Stephanie Merry
Friday, March 8, 2013
The name Environmental Film Festival doesn’t do justice to the breadth of this 21st annual expo, which begins Tuesday and runs through March 24. The festival isn’t so much a spotlight of eco-friendly films -- although there are some of those -- as it is a look at dramas, documentaries, remastered classics, animation and shorts that sometimes tangentially relate to nature.
This year there are 190 films on the menu, many of them free, showing at 75 venues across the city. Most include a pre- or post-show discussion with the 196 filmmakers and environmentalists participating, which explains why festival founder and president Flo Stone says, “It’s more than just going to the movies.” Here are some highlights of the festival; for more information and tickets, visit www.dcenvironmentalfilmfest.org.
“To the Wonder”
One of the festival’s highest-profile films is the area premiere of Terrence Malick’s latest. The auteur behind “The Tree of Life” and “Badlands” has a knack for filming nature, taking lingering, breathtaking shots of vast expanses of field and desert. He directed Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams and Javier Bardem in this drama about a fizzling relationship. March 23 at AFI Silver Theatre.
“The fruit hunters”
After rave reviews for “Up the Yangtze” and “China Heavyweight,” documentarian Yung Chang turns his attention here to a quirky group of individuals who go bananas for fruit. Actor Bill Pullman is just one of the real-life players on the hunt for exotic, pick-your-own snacks that include the ice cream bean -- a fruit that, so they say, tastes like cotton candy. March 24 at Carnegie Institution for Science.
The Duchess of Cambridge and her growing baby bump may be grabbing the spotlight from the British royals at the moment. But the often overlooked, occasionally ridiculed Prince Charles is a quiet scene-stealer and passionate narrator in this documentary about locavorism and sustainability. Filmmakers Stuart Sender and Julie Bergman Sender offer concrete options to go green, including the prince’s own organic farm. March 21 at Carnegie Institution for Science.
We all have our peculiarities; the subjects of this documentary just happen to wear them on their sleeves, which would ideally be part of a spacesuit. Among the moon-obsessed individuals in Simon Ennis’s first feature is a man who claims ownership of the moon, even selling real estate to wannabe colonizers. March 18 at E Street Cinema.