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Environmental Film Festival movies: 'Plastic Bag,' 'Living Downstream'

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Friday, April 23, 2010

"Plastic Bag" screens Sunday at 2:30 p.m. at the Environmental Film Festival on a bonus program with "Living Downstream," a documentary about biologist and cancer-prevention activist Sandra Steingraber. That film, making its D.C. premiere, follows Steingraber as she tours the country speaking about the links between chemicals and disease, and grapples with the bladder cancer she was diagnosed with 29 years earlier.

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Handsomely photographed and powerfully argued, "Living Downstream" occasionally tips into hagiography (it was made as a companion piece to Steingraber's book of the same name, so promotion is in its DNA). But Steingraber's scientific cool and unflagging sense of mission make for an arresting portrait of a self-styled modern-day Rachel Carson.

Sunday's program begins at noon, with a repeat screening of "Nora!" ("Sweet Crude," "The Legend of Pale Male" and "GasLand" will also be shown.) "Living Downstream" begins at 7 p.m., and Steingraber and director Chanda Chevannes will answer questions after the screening. All films will be shown at the Carnegie Institution for Science, 1530 P St. NW. Admission is free. Visit http://www.dcenvironmentalfilmfest.org.

-- Ann Hornaday

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