As we inch closer to Memorial Day, it's worth remembering that the holiday marks more than the unofficial start of beach and pool season. Two military-themed film programs aim to do just that. The seventh annual G.I. Film Festival runs through May 12 at various venues around town. Somewhat further out, the Library of Congress's Culpeper-based Packard Campus Theater is also offering a free month-long series of vintage war films.
Although the GIFF lineup includes a screening of the fun (if slightly silly) new action thriller "Iron Man 3," its focus is mainly on more sober-minded features, shorts and documentaries. A rare free film, the 52-minute "The Real Inglorious Bastards" (pictured above) uses interviews, archival material and reenactments to profile the real-life members of Operation Greenup, a World War II intelligence-gathering mission that included two Jewish refugees and a Wehrmacht officer. The Library of Congress series will includes such titles as the 1945 John Ford classic "They Were Expendable."
To reserve free seats at the Packard Campus Theater, call (540) 827-1079, ext. 79994, or 202-707-9994 during business hours, beginning one week before any given screening. Reservations will be held until 10 minutes before showtime. Tickets to individual GIFF screenings range from $12 to $50 (for a premiere with reception). A weekend all-film pass, which gets you into every screening between 10 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. on May 11 and 12, is also $50.