CULTURES, TRADITIONS AND political priorities may differ, but Olympic fever is universal. For a different take on what lengths a nation will go to in order to look like winners in time for the games, see Philipp Stoltz‘s “North Face,” opening on Friday. The film is a fictionalized re-creation of a horrific actual event — the doomed 1936 Alpine climb up a flank charmingly called “The Murder Wall” by Bavarian climbers and an ambitious photographer. To say that things do not go well would be an understatement. To point out that the climbers’ dramatic struggle was played out before guests at a luxury hotel with a fine view of the peaks would just be cruel.

» E Street Cinema, 555 11th St. NW; opens Fri. Feb. 26; 202-452-7672. (Metro Center)

Cold Comforts
It’s polar exploration month for the National Archives, but you don’t have to bundle up to enjoy it. Thursday is Family Day at the Archives, with participatory adventures, educational workshops and a re-enactor playing the part of a polar explorer. As part of the celebration, there’s a film series featuring, on Thursday at 7 p.m., the 1930 film “With Byrd at the South Pole” and, on Saturday at 2 p.m., a screening of “March of the Penguins.”

» National Archives, Constitution Avenue between 7th & 9th streets NW; Family Day Sat. Feb. 27, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., free; 202-357-5000.

Photo by Nadia Klier/IFC Films