Arts Desk

This Weekend at Filmfest: Music Edition

MadeInHungaria

It's the Swinging Sixties and singer Miklos Fenyo doesn't want for girls
in the musical romantic comedy
Made in Hungaria.

It's the last weekend of Filmfest, and we're ending on a very musical note: New films include an insightful  documentary about music in the Civil Rights Movement, a cute musical rom-com from Hungary, and a somewhat pandering documentary about an American jazz musician. Among the second showings are a tedious Colombian film about an accordion player's cross-country trek, and a maudlin backstage look at the original production of Don Giovanni.

See it:
Soundtrack to a Revolution

Music is the device by which this documentary recounts the American Civil Rights Movement. The film features both archival footage and new interviews with such Civil Rights leaders as Congressman John Lewis, Harry Belafonte, and Andrew Young. Additionally, new performances by musicians including John Legend, the Roots, and Wyclef Jean "add perspective and depth," writes Ryan Little.
Friday, 6:30 at Regal Gallery Place

Made in Hungaria
Based on the youth of Hungarian singer/pianoman Miklos Fenyo, this enjoyable '60s-era musical romantic comedy follows 18-year-old Miki as he hangs with friends, flirts with girls, and makes music—all in the shadow of Communism.
Friday, 9:00 at Avalon Theatre
Saturday, 7:00 at Avalon Theatre

Learning from Light: The Vision of I.M. Pei
This documentary follows 92-year-old architect I.M. Pei as he creates his latest project, the Museum of Islamic Art in Qatar. The Chinese-born American is responsible for numerous iconic structures throughout the world, including the Louvre Pyramid in Paris, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, and the National Gallery East Building here in D.C. But he’d never built in the Middle East, and in order to get a better sense of the culture he read The Life of Muhammad. “The vivid, gorgeously lit images of Pei’s work makes this doc drool-worthy,” writes Tricia Olszewski, ” not only for architecture enthusiasts but for anyone who can appreciate beauty.”
Friday, 6:30 p.m. at Goethe-Institut

Friends at the Margherita Café
In his effort to become a regular at Bologna’s Margherita Café, Taddeo starts chauffering for Al, a leader of the group that congregates at this town institution. Soon Taddeo gets to know the other regulars in all their quirkiness. “It’s pure comedic fun,” writes Tessa Moran.
Saturday, 4:30 at Avalon Theatre

Skip it:
Medal of Honor

As Jonathan L. Fischer succinctly puts it, "This movie is about an asshole." 75-year-old Ion is an unlikable man who is estranged from his family. When he's honored with a medal of heroism from Romania’s Ministry of Defense for a heroic act he may or may not have performed during World War II, he tries to repair his relationships. Despite "some deliriously funny slapstick moments along the way," according to Fischer, there's nothing transportive about this film.
Friday, 8:30 p.m. at E Street Cinema
Saturday, 4:45 p.m. at E Street Cinema

The Happiest Girl in the World
In this slice-of-life film, Delia has just won a car in a promotional contest sponsored by a beverage company—she should be thrilled. But she proves a bad actress when she tries to shoot a commercial for the company, and her dad put the proceeds toward a B&B. The slow pacing leaves the audience "starved for action," according to Andrew Beaujon.
Friday, 6:30 at Regal Gallery Place
Saturday, 7:00 at Regal Gallery Place

Charlie Haden: Rambling Boy
The recording of his 2008 eponymous album is the framing device for this documentary about American jazz bassist Charlie Haden. A major theme of the film is that unlike countless musicians, Haden has been able to balance a fulfilling family life with his prodigious career. According to Steve Kolowich, the film suffers from a "Wikipedia-like structure and lack of dramatic arc."
Friday, 9:00 p.m. at Goethe-Institut
Saturday, 9:15 p.m. at Goethe-Institut

The Wind Journeys
In this Colombian film, Ignacio, an accordion virtuoso who has just lost his wife, treks across the continent to the Caribbean coast in order to return his instrument to his teacher. A teenage boy eager to become a musician himself joins Ignacio along the way, and the two bond while competing in musical duels. Though “it’s a beautifully shot film with a certain allure,” according to Aaron Wiener, “the music won’t sustain interest beyond the halfway mark.”
Friday, 9:15 p.m. at E Street Cinema

Between the Sheets
Roberto and Paula meet at a nightclub in Rio and embark on a steamy one-night stand. The actors are  pretty to look at, but between what Ted Scheinman calls “the sub-telenovela production value”  and “the mercilessly bad dialogue,” there’s little to recommend the film.
Saturday, 10:00 at E Street Cinema

I, Don Giovanni
A backstage look at the production of Don Giovanni, centering on  Lorenzo da Ponte, librettist to Salieri and Mozart. The film is “a frilly production suitable for Lifetime, if Lifetime allowed subtitles,” writes Ted Scheinman.
4:30 at Avalon Theatre

Also playing:
Women Without Men

Friday, 9:00 at Regal Gallery Place

Alamar
Friday, 6:30 p.m. at E Street Cinema

Saturday, 5:15 p.m. at E Street Cinema

Reykjavik-Rotterdam
Friday, 9:00 p.m. at Avalon Theatre

Saturday, 9:15 p.m. at Regal Gallery Place

Mao's Last Dancer
Friday, 6:30 p.m. at Avalon Theatre

Saturday, 9:00 p.m. at Avalon Theatre

Heliopolis
Friday, 6:30 p.m. at Avalon Theatre
Saturday, 6:45 p.m. at Avalon Theatre

The Day Will Come
Friday, 6:30 p.m. at E Street Cinema

Saturday, 7:00 p.m. at E Street Cinema

Harry Brown
Friday, 9:00 p.m. at Regal Gallery Place
Saturday, 9:15 p.m. at
Regal Gallery Place

People and Landscapes of Catalonia
Saturday, 2:30 p.m. at
National Gallery of Art

The Sun Behind the Clouds: Tibet's Struggle for Freedom
Saturday, 7:00 p.m. at
Regal Gallery Place

Beyond Ipanema
Saturday, 7:30 p.m at Goethe Institut

The House of Branching Love
Saturday, 7:30 p.m at E Street Cinema

Looking for Eric
Saturday, 9:15 p.m at Avalon Theatre

The Message
Saturday, 10:00 p.m at E Street Cinema

Soul Kitchen
Sunday, 4:00 p.m at Regal Gallery Place

Irene
Saturday, 4:30 p.m at National Gallery of Art

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