"FIRST LOOK," Kavery Dutta's 1983 documentary on the visit by Cuban artists Eduardo "Choco" Roca and Nelson Dominguez to American artists Alice Neel and James Rosenquist, will have its Washington premiere Friday night at 7:30 at the Casa del Pueblo, United Calvary Methodist Church, 1459 Columbia Road NW. The film, which was a finalist at the 1983 American Film Festival, offers a view of Cuban art unseen by most Americans. Admission is $2.50 donation; poetry, Caribbean music and Latin American food and refreshments are also part of the evening. Call 234-3350.
The National Gallery of Art is in its second week of a free, nine-program retrospective of Satyajit Ray's films. While the first film in his Apu Trilogy, 1955's Pather Panchali, was shown last week, you can pick up the series Saturday at 2:30 or Sunday at 6 with part two, 1956's Aparajito ("The Unvanquished"). The remainder of the festival is as follows: 1959's Apur Sansar ("The World of Apu"), part three of the trilogy, followed by his short film Two, August 3 at 2:30 and August 4 at 6; Devi ("The Goddess"), followed by National Educational Television's documentary on the filmmaker, August 10 at 2:30 and August 11 at 6; The Adventures of Goopy and Bagha, August 17 and 2:30 and August 18 at 6; The Elephant God, August 24 at 12:30; The Golden Fortress, August 24 at 2:30 and August 25 at 6; the commissioned documentary on his mentor, Rabindranath Tagore, August 28 through 31 at 12:30 and September 1 at 1; and Teen Kanya ("Three Daughters"), August 31 at 1:30 and September 1 at 6. All films will be shown in the East Building Auditorium. Call 842-6272.
Tony Fischer and Peter Carney, owners and operators of the Bethesda Cinema'N'Drafthouse, have opened another branch of the national franchise at the old NTI Arlington house, 2903 Columbia Pike in Arlington. Refurbished in the ever-popular deco style, the theater has been equipped with tables and individual seats on levels of varying height, allowing waiters and waitresses to discreetly serve beer, wine, pizza and sandwiches before and during the film. All seats are $2.50, plus whatever you consume. Both locations are also available for corporate seminars and the like. For further information, call the Bethesda theater at 656-3337 or the Arlington house at 486-2345.
Andrew Batkin, president of the New York- based International Information Network, has decided to reach out and stump someone with "This Day in Hollywood," a three-question trivia game that allows you to win prizes for your movie knowledge. Now operating in 11 cities nationwide, "This Day in Hollywood" debuted in Washington on July 15, and now logs a daily average of more than a thousand calls from this area, according to Batkin.
Sponsored by The Movie Channel, the game, which requires a push-button phone and costs you 50 cents for each call you make, is simple to summon but challenging to conquer. When you call 976-FILM, you get a recorded message giving instructions and a clue for your first question. Then the computer chooses at random from 750 questions on file to give you the other two. If you get them all correct, the computer assigns you a 10-digit winner's code and an 800 number to dial to claim your prize. If you boot a question, you're encouraged to call back again. While there don't appear to be trick questions, a good number of them require a solid background in Hollywood trivia.
The system is truly interactional; on one recent (successful) attempt, this caller was required to answer a yes-or-no question, followed by a multiple choice, followed by a complete-the-title question that necessitated punching the digit that corresponded to the number in the mystery film's title.
Among the available prizes are a pictorial history of the Oscars, an album or cassette of classic themes, a Movie Channel T-shirt or a cash prize of $5 (on mystery cash day only). Your prize is determined by a real live operator on the other end of the 800 number. (Don't spend your winnings right away; they say delivery takes four to six weeks.)
Remember, each call costs 50 cents in this area (costs vary in other cities) and will appear on your next month's phone bill.
Batkin -- who also offers systems that provide stock quotations, "Stock Fone," and horse racing results, "Stretch Call" -- says the movie business is doing well, even though a dedicated cadre of 38 nationwide trivia buffs are "making us poor" with their winnings. One lady in Denver, he reports, has spent $80 on 160 telephone calls to win $120.
August can be a slow month, especially in a town built on a swamp. So in order to liven things up a bit, the suburban Roth Theater chain and radio station WWDC (DC 101) are asking you to consider marriage. That's right, the organizations are looking for a man and a woman interested in tying the knot before the sneak preview of The Bride on August 15. They've agreed to provide the license, a tastefully done civil ceremony (with DC 101 disc jockeys in the wedding party), a modest reception, a plethora of movie passes and other prizes to be announced. All this to publicize the remake of The Bride of Frankenstein, which stars Sting as the good doctor and Jennifer Beals (of fleeting Flashdance fame) as his most inspired creation. Interested couples can call the Roth offices at 587-850 or DC 101 at 828-9932.
According to the Washington-based Motion Picture Information Service, the area's 10 top- grossing pictures for the week ending July 18 were, in descending order, Back to the Future (still the clear leader at 19 screens in week two); Mad Max, Beyond Thunderdome (debuting at 22 houses); Silverado (bowing at 17 locations); Cocoon (on 17 screens in a full month of release); St. Elmo's Fire (holding at 17 theaters in week three); Rambo: First Blood Part II (dropping from 20 to 17 houses in two months of release); Pale Rider (at 20 screens in its third week); Explorers (a lackluster opening on seven screens); The Goonies (15 screens in week six); and Prizzi's Honor (11 houses in its fifth week).
In international production news (gleaned mostly from the pages of Variety): Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman will co-star together for the first time in an as-yet-untitled new comedy to be written and directed by Elaine May (who wrote Beatty's 1978 hit Heaven Can Wait and wrote and directed A New Leaf and Mikey and Nicky); Beatty will also produce the film, which begins production next month in Europe, New York and Los Angeles . . . Gregory Peck will return to acting in uf52>Judgment Day, to be directed by William Friedkin for MGM/UA . . . Six summer releases have been deemed morally offensive by the U.S. Catholic Conference. They are Rambo: First Blood Part II, A View to a Kill, Perfect, Pale Rider, Secret Admirer and the as-yet-unreleased Grace Quigley, with Katharine Hepburn and Nick Nolte .. . Joining Meryl Streep and Mandy Patinkin in the cast of Mike Nichols' Heartburn (from Nora Ephron's novel) are Diana Scarwid, Jeff Daniels (who starred in "The Purple Rose of Cairo"), Richard Masur and two-time Oscar-winning director Milos Forman . . . Playwright David Mamet, who scripted The Verdict, is set to write an updated version of the TV series The Untouchables for Paramount (it's too early to cast, so no word on whether Robert Stack will return as Elliot Ness) . . . Cary Parker, an expatriate American living in Scotland, has just finished directing The Girl in the Picture, a belated sequel to Bill Forsyth's Gregory's Girl. Gordon John Sinclair will return as Gregory, but, according to reports, neither Dee Hepburn nor Clare Grogan will encore their roles as Dorothy and Susan, the objects of Gregory's awkward attentions. Forsyth has endorsed the film, which should open here around Christmas . . . Alex Cox, director of the bizarre cult hit Repo Man, will next make Love Kills, the story of the late punk rocker Sid Vicious and the girlfriend he murdered, Nancy Spungen . . . Director James Ivory and producer Ismail Merchant are currently in Europe filming long-time collaborator Ruth Prawer Jhabvala's adaptation of E.M. Forster's A Room With a View. Previous films of the trio include Heat and Dust and The Bostonians . . . The sequel to Romancing the Stone, called The Jewel of the Nile, has been filming for three months now on location in Morocco and Nice. Lewis Teague, who directed "Alligator" and "Cujo," is directing returning principals Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner and Danny DeVito .
PAGES OF FILM HISTORY -- Birthday greeting go out this date to Blake Edwards, Jason Robards, James Best (Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane on "The Dukes of Hazzard"), Stanley Kubrick, Mick Jagger and Susan George ("Straw Dogs").
Keenan Wynn, Norman Lear, sports announcer Irv Cross, Don Galloway (the righthand man in "Ironsides"), and Peggy Fleming are among those celebrating birthdays on Saturday.
Sunday's birthdays include those of Rudy Vallee, Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Darryl Hickman (Dobie Gillis himself), Linda Kelsey (reporter Billie Newman on "Lou Grant" ) and Sally Struthers. And it was on July 28, 1954 that Elia Kazan's "On the Waterfront" was released (the film went on to win eight Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Actor, for Marlon Brando).
Eddie Cockrell is a freelance film consultant and teacher. His "Insights on Film" is heard Mondays at 5:30 p.m. on WGMS AM & FM.