Home The Washington Diplomat February 2015 Films – February 2015

Films – February 2015


















Highlighted Festival

Jewish Lens

On its 25th anniversary, the popular annual Washington Jewish Film Festival (WJFF) expects to draw over 12,000 attendees to more than 100 events spanning the Washington area. From Feb. 19 to March 1, an eclectic lineup of films — accompanied by cultural and educational events — showcases the best of international cinema through a distinctly Jewish lens, with many East Coast premieres and in-person appearances.

“For 25 years, this festival has celebrated international cinema in building the single largest Jewish cultural event in Washington,” Ilya Tovbis, WJFF director, said in a press release. “With our most ambitious festival to date, the 25th WJFF will honor a quarter century of exhibiting the full diversity of the Jewish experience.”

The opening-night film, “Magic Men,” chronicles the journey of a 78-year-old Greek-born atheist and his estranged Hasidic rapper son as they travel from Israel to Greece in search of the magician who saved the father’s life during World War II.

The closing night features Uruguay’s entry for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, “Mr. Kaplin.” In the heartwarming comedy, 76-year-old Jacob Kaplan, fed up with his community and his family’s lack of interest in its own heritage, becomes convinced that his German neighbor is a runaway Nazi and secretly takes on the role of a spy, although he is no match for the forces of age.

Other highlights include:

• The WJFF Centerpiece Evening, which takes place at the AFI Silver Theatre on Feb. 21, will offer an extended Q&A session with Theodore Bikel, whose career spans more than 150 screen roles. In “Theodore Bikel: In the Shoes of Sholom Aleichem,” portraits of two beloved icons — Sholom Aleichem and Theodore Bikel — are woven together in an enchanting new documentary.

• Israeli-Palestinian singer Mira Awad and songwriter Steve Earle join legendary singer-songwriter David Broza for a 45-minute musical set and Q&A following a screening of “East Jerusalem, West Jerusalem” on Feb. 26 at Sidney Harman Hall.

• The 5th Annual Community Education Day on Arab Citizens of Israel is an all-day, in-depth exploration of the daily lives and challenges of Israel’s Arab population. It includes: a panel discussion among Middle East experts and the D.C. premiere of the film, “Dancing Arabs,” with its filmmaker Eran Riklis (Feb. 22); a state of the cinema address on Israeli documentary film (Feb. 24); and the third iteration of “Two Jews Walk into a Bar,” a cinematic bar event (Feb. 8.)

• Additional films of note include “Gett, the Trial of Viviane Amsalem” (Feb. 25), about a woman’s seemingly unending battle with the rules of Orthodox marriage in Israel; “The Farewell Party” (March 1), a dark comedy about a group of friends at a Jerusalem retirement home who build a machine for self-euthanasia; and “Next to Her” (Feb. 23-28), about a woman who is forced to put her mentally disabled sister in a day-care center, only to then meet a man who leads to a relationship triangle between the three.

• The festival will also present two silent films with live original music: “Breaking Home Ties” (Feb. 23) and the 1920 German silent horror-fantasy-expressionist film “The Golem” (Feb. 26), the tale of a 16th-century rabbi who made a man out of clay to save the Jewish community of Prague from annihilation.

For a complete list of films, visit www.wjff.org.



 In the Mood for Love

Directed by Wong Kar-Wai

(Hong Kong/France, 2000, 98 min.)

In 1962 Hong Kong, neighbors Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung Chiu-Wai discover that their spouses are having an affair. Their shared grief leads to close friendship, and then temptation (Cantonese and Shanghainese).

AFI Silver Theatre

Fri., Feb. 13, 9:45 p.m.,

Sun., Feb. 15, 6 p.m.



 Black Sea

Directed by Kevin Macdonald

(U.K./U.S./Russia, 2014, 114 min.)

In order to make good with his former employers, a submarine captain takes a job with a shadowy backer to search the depths of the Black Sea for a submarine rumored to be loaded with gold.

Theater TBA

Dalai Lama Awakening

Directed by Khashyar Darvich

(U.S., 2014, 120 min.)

Narrated by Harrison Ford, “Dalai Lama Awakening” presents the profound and life-changing journey of innovative Western thinkers who travel to India to meet with the Dalai Lama (English, Hindi and Tibetan).

Angelika Mosaic

Thu., Feb. 12, 6:30 p.m.

Kingsman: The Secret Service

Directed by Matthew Vaughn

(U.K., 2014, 129 min.)

A super-secret spy organization recruits an unrefined but promising street kid into the agency’s ultra-competitive training program just as a global threat emerges from a twisted tech genius.

Theater TBA

Opens Fri., Feb. 13

One Hour With You

Directed by Ernst Lubitsch

(U.S., 1932, 84 min.)

Parisian couple Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald’s happy union becomes threatened by mutual infidelities.

AFI Silver Theatre

Sat., Feb. 7, 2 p.m.,

Thu., Feb. 12, 7:15 p.m.

Red Army

Directed by Gabe Polsky

(U.S./Russia, 2014, 85 min.)

This entertaining documentary shows the waning days of the Soviet Union and the most successful dynasty in sports history, the Red Army ice hockey team — potent patriotic symbols who were forced to train in a restricted camp for 11 months of the year, missing their families.

Landmark’s E Street Cinema

Opens Fri., Feb. 6

The Search for General Tso

Directed by Ian Cheney

(U.S./Taiwan/China, 71 min.)

Who was General Tso, and why are we eating his chicken? This feature documentary explores the origins and ubiquity of Chinese-American food through the story of an iconic sweet and spicy chicken dish.

West End Cinema

She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry

Directed by Mary Dore

(U.S., 2014, 92 min.)

This documentary resurrects the buried history of the outrageous, often brilliant women who founded the modern women’s movement from 1966 to 1971.

Landmark’s E Street Cinema

Opens Fri., Feb. 13

Still Alice

Directed by Richard Glatzer and Wash Westermoreland

(U.S./France, 2014, 99 min.)

Alice Howland, happily married, renowned linguistics professor with three grown children, starts to forget words and must grapple with a devastating diagnosis, early-onset Alzheimer’s.

Landmark’s E Street Cinema

What We Do in the Shadows

Directed by Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi

(New Zealand, 2014, 96 min.)

In this hilarious comedy, an endearingly unhip quartet of flatmates — and vampires — squabble over household chores, struggle to keep up with the latest trends, antagonize the local werewolves and deal with the rigors of living on a very, very strict diet.

Landmark’s E Street Cinema

Opens Fri., Feb. 20



Bending the Rules

Directed by Behnam Behzadi

(Iran, 2013, 94 min.)

An amateur theater troupe that has been invited to perform outside Iran. Most of its young members have lied to their families about where they are going, but when the lead actress tells her father the truth, he forbids her to leave. On the eve of their departure, she and her cohorts struggle with whether to confront or secretly defy him.

Freer Gallery of Art

Sun., Feb. 1, 2 p.m.

Fifi Howls from Happiness

Directed by Manohla Dargis

(Iran, 2013, 96 min.)

Once known as the “Persian Picasso,” Bahman Mohassess was a famous artist in pre-revolution Iran until he was forced into a 30-year exile in Italy by the new regime. Filmmaker Mitra Farahani found the artist there and documented the verbal sparring matches that constitute this lively, lyrical portrait.

Freer Gallery of Art

Fri., Feb. 6, 7 p.m.,

Sun., Feb. 8, 2 p.m.




Directed by Xavier Dolan

(Canada, 2014, 139 min.)

A widowed single mother, raising her violent son alone, finds new hope when a mysterious neighbor inserts herself into their household (French and English).

Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema

Two Days, One Night

(Deux jours, une nuit)

Directed by Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne

(Belgium/France/Italy, 2014, 95 min.)

A young Belgian mother discovers that her workmates have opted for a significant pay bonus, in exchange for her dismissal, and she has only one weekend to convince her colleagues to give up their bonuses so that she can keep her job.

Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema


The Day Is Longer than the Night

(Dges game utenebia)

Directed by Lana Gogoberidze

(Georgia/U.S.S.R., 1984, 105 min.)

Known for beautiful location shooting, portrayals of traditions and appealing performances, this film follows the life of Eva from the turn of the century through many important milestones, personal and historic, with each one linked to the next by a troop of actors and musicians who offer their own counterpoint.

AFI Silver Theatre

Sat., Feb. 7, 4 p.m.

Once Upon a Time There Was a Singing Blackbird

(Iko shashvi mgalobeli)

Directed by Otar Iosseliani

(U.S.S.R., 1971, 83 min.)

In this wry comedy, an amiable musician who refuses to conform — forever late for his concerts, neglectful of appointments and continually finding ways to avoid work — wrestles with his destiny until every resolve goes astray (screens with “Akvareli (1958, 10 min.) and “Sapovnela (1959, 18 min.)).

Embassy of France

Wed., Feb. 4, 7 p.m.

Paradise Lost

Directed by Davit Rondeli

(U.S.S.R., 1938, 85 min.)

Director Davit Rondeli’s most lasting contribution to Georgian cinema is this hilarious satire loosely adapted from Davit Kldiashvili’s classical stories about the parasitic lifestyle of impoverished nobility.

Freer Gallery of Art

Fri., Feb. 20, 7 p.m.


Directed by Otar Iosseliani

(Georgia/U.S.S.R., 1975, 95 min.)

In a rural Georgian village, four young musicians, seeking the solace of a rural village for their summer rehearsals, become unavoidably entangled in local life (screens with “Tudzhi (Cast Iron)” (1964, 17 min.)).

Embassy of France

Fri., Feb. 6, 7 p.m.


Directed by Giorgi Shengelaia

(U.S.S.R., 1969, 85 min.)

This film on the life of the great Georgian primitive painter Nikoloz Pirosmanishvili avoids the usual clichés of films about artists’ lives, instead experimenting with color techniques based on the painter’s style and constructing a series of impressionistic tableaux from incidents in Pirosmani’s life (Georgian, Russian and French).


Mon., Feb. 2, 6:30 p.m.


Directed by Tengiz Abuladze

(U.S.S.R., 1984, 153 min.)

One of the most important censored films to come off the shelf with the cultural liberalization of the late 1980s, it was the first to deal with the terrors of the Stalin era.

Freer Gallery of Art

Sun., Feb. 22, 2 p.m.

Some Interviews on Personal Matters

(Ramdenime interviu pirad sakitkhebze)

Directed by Lana Gogoberidze

(Georgia/U.S.S.R., 1979, 95 min.)

A young newspaper staffer is passionately involved in her work — interviewing people who have sent letters of complaint to the editor. One of the women she interviews is her mother, and the pair’s onscreen relationship evokes the tragic early life of the filmmaker and her own mother.

AFI Silver Theatre

Sun., Feb. 8, 3 p.m.


Beloved Sisters

(Die geliebten Schwestern)

Directed by Dominik Graf

(Germany/Austria/Switzerland, 2014, 170 min.)

“Beloved Sisters” depicts the unconventional romance between two aristocratic sisters and a rebellious poet who took the European literary world by storm in the late 18th century (German and French).

Landmark’s E Street Cinema

For Eyes Only

(Streng geheim)

Directed by János Veiczi

(East Germany, 1963, 103 min.)

A double agent tries to steal secret military plans from the headquarters of the American Military Intelligence Division in West Germany while his boss desperately tries to find the mole in his agency.


Mon., Feb. 9, 6:30 p.m.



Haber’s Photo Shop

(Fotó Háber)

Directed by Zoltán Várkonyi

(Hungary, 1963, 108 min.)

A secret service man infiltrates a gang to uncover their operation. Behind the front of a photo shop, the group retrieves top-secret information on atomic weapons for a foreign client. As he gets closer to exposing the ring, the undercover agent finds much more than he had expected.


Tue., Feb. 17, 6:30 p.m.


Human Capital

(Il capitale umano)

Directed by Paolo Virzi

(Italy/France, 2013, 110 min.)

The most acclaimed Italian film this year is told in three intersecting chapters from different character’s viewpoints, each revealing more layers of plot, character and a gripping tale of the ultra-rich and their would-be imitators, locked in a tricky social dance of status, money and ambition (Italian and English).

Landmark’s E Street Cinema

Opens Fri., Feb. 27


The Last: Naruto the Movie

Directed by Tsuneo Kobayashi

(Japan, 2014, 112 min.)

Hyuuga Hinata is kidnapped by the alien Ootsutsuki Toneri, and a disheartened Uzumaki Naruto must put himself together to save his new found love, and their budding romance.

Angelika Mosaic and Angelika Pop-Up

Sat., Feb. 21, 12 p.m.,

Mon., Feb. 23, 7 p.m.


Ilo Ilo

Directed by Anthony Chen

(Singapore, 2013, 99 min.)

Set in Singapore, “Ilo Ilo” chronicles the relationship between a family of three and their newly arrived Filipino maid, Teresa, who has come like many Filipino women in search of a better life. The entire family needs to adapt to the presence of this stranger, which further threatens their already strained relationship (Mandarin, Tagalog and Hokkien).

Landmark’s Bethesda Row Cinema

Sun., Feb. 8, 10 a.m.



Directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev

(Russia, 2014, 141 min.)

The latest drama from Andrey Zvyagintsev, “Leviathan” is a modern day retelling of the Biblical story of Job set in contemporary Russia.

The Avalon Theatre



Directed by Nikoloz Shengelaia

(U.S.S.R., 1928, 89 min.)

This historical epic evokes the tragic fate of Georgia, a nation pacified in 1864 by the tsarist Russian Empire, as authorities begin to appropriate arable lands and the peasants are forced to evacuate under terrible conditions.

Freer Gallery of Art

Fri., Feb. 13, 7 p.m.

Nail in the Boot

Directed by Mikhail Kalatozov

(U.S.S.R., 1932, 54 min.)

The poor quality of a nail in a soldier’s boot leads to the defeat of a military unit. Ostensibly an allegory on Soviet industry, this film was banned, its symbolism lost on literal-minded authorities who felt it reflected poorly on the Red Army (screens with “Salt for Svanetia”).

Freer Gallery of Art

Sun., Feb. 15, 3:30 p.m.

Salt for Svanetia

Directed by Mikhail Kalatozov

(U.S.S.R., 1932, 66 min.)

The film is a haunting portrait of difficult life in a village in the Caucasus cut off by snows from the outside world for most of the year, as patriarchal rituals favor men and death over women (screens with “Nail in the Boot”).

Freer Gallery of Art

Sun., Feb. 15, 2 p.m.


Wild Tales

(Relatos Salvajes)

Directed by Damián Szifrón

(Argentina/Spain 2014, 122 min.)

Love, deception, tragedy, violence and everyday detail push people into the undeniable pleasure of losing control.

Landmark’s E Street Cinema

Opens Fri., Feb. 27


The Guitar Mongoloid


Directed by Ruben Östlund

(Sweden, 2004, 89 min.)

Ruben Östlund’s feature debut is set in Jöteborg, a fictional Swedish city resembling the director’s own hometown of Göteborg. His focus is on outsiders and nonconformists, in particular the titular musician, a young man facing dire obstacles in life (screens with “Incident by a Bank” (2009, 12 min.) and “Autobiographical Scene Number 6882″(2005, 9 min.)).

AFI Silver Theatre

Tue., Feb. 17, 9:30 p.m.


(De ofrivilliga)

Directed by Ruben Östlund

(Sweden, 2009, 98 min.)

Described by Ruben Östlund as “a tragic comedy or a comic tragedy,” the director’s second feature examines group dynamics and the dark side of human nature in five tales of social discord.

AFI Silver Theatre

Thu., Feb. 12, 9 p.m.


Directed by Ruben Östlund

(Sweden/France, 2011, 118 min.)

This controversial record, inspired by actual court cases, of five black teenagers harassing white and Asian youths through scams and role-playing attracted controversy for its implication that political correctness debilitates society, as “good people” stand by and do nothing for fear of being thought racist.

AFI Silver Theatre

Mon., Feb. 9, 7 p.m.

Smiles of a Summer Night

(Sommarnattens leende)

Directed by Ingmar Bergman

(Sweden, 1955, 108 min.)

In frothy, fin-de-siècle Sweden, stage actress Eva Dahlbeck arranges a weekend at her mother’s country estate. Guests include her former and current lovers, as well as the two men’s ill-matched spouses and a moonstruck maid.

AFI Silver Theatre

Fri., Feb. 13, 7:30 p.m.,

Sat., Feb. 14, 11 a.m.


Winter Sleep

(Kis uykusu)

Directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan

(Turkey/France/Germany, 2014, 196 min.)

A former actor runs a small hotel in central Anatolia with his young wife, with whom he has a stormy relationship, and his sister, who is suffering from her recent divorce.

Angelika Mosaic

Angelika Pop-Up