Correction to This Article
This article about alternative movie venues misidentifies a movie to be screened at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. The correct title is "Film Ist. A Girl & a Gun," not "Film 1st. A Girl & a Gun."

Washington area embassies, museums that show films

By Michael O'Sullivan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, January 29, 2010

Decisions, decisions.

Should you catch a screening of "Good Night, and Good Luck," the multi-Oscar-nominated 2005 film about Edward R. Murrow, with an introduction by an expert on Cold War history? Or a screening of the same movie ... with a post-show discussion featuring director and Hollywood heartthrob George Clooney?

The dilemma -- brain power vs. star power -- isn't theoretical. Both events were offered in Washington within the past 18 months. The first took place at the National Portrait Gallery in October 2008; the second, at the Newseum in January 2009.

Local movie lovers have never had it better. The choices facing Washington film buffs go well beyond whether to see "Avatar" in 2-D or 3-D. Between museums and embassies offering adventurous film programs, sneak-preview clubs allowing inside access to films even before reviewers lay their eyes on them, and specialized film groups catering to niche audiences, there's an embarrassment of cinematic riches here.

We're not talking one-off festivals either -- that's a whole 'nother story -- but programs with regular, year-round screenings with a singular focus. Many of them are free. A few of them feature special guests. One or two might even broaden your field of vision about the world we live in.

Whether it's brand new or classic, American or foreign, mainstream or indie, out of this world or documentary, five-star or no-star, there's a great -- or sometimes just goofy -- movie out there waiting to be discovered. We rounded up some of the best places to start your search in this field guide to movies outside the multiplex.

Note: All foreign films are shown with English subtitles, except as noted.

ALLIANCE FRANCAISE

202-234-7911. www.francedc.org

What is it? Brought to you by the local chapter of L'Alliance Francaise, a worldwide organization dedicated to the promotion of French language and culture, the Cine Francophone screening program highlights not the country of France, but French. Its mix of classics, recent films, documentaries and shorts aren't all from France -- some come from Quebec, Haiti, Belgium and Switzerland -- but they're all in French, with subtitles that are often, but not always, also in French (sorry, Anglophones).

Where is it? Letelier Theatre, Upper Courtyard, 3251 Prospect St. NW. Seats: 85.

How much does it cost? $9; $4 for members, seniors and George Washington University students.


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