Arts Desk

This Week in Repertory Film: Revolución, Waste Land

As with the first two roundups of the upcoming week on the repertory film calendar, the National Gallery of Art's weekend presentation is leading off. There are no shenanigans going on here, just some damn interesting movies.

Assembled in time for the 100th anniversary of the Mexican Revolution, a new anthology — the appropriately titled Revolución—uses 10 shorts by an assortment of directors to reflect on a decade-long struggle that ushered in a new era to our south. Some segments focus on the revolution as it happened—Fernando Eimbcke's "The Welcome Ceremony" features an early 2oth-century tubaist practicing defiantly for a ceremony that never occurs—while others deal with its lasting impacts. Actors Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal get behind camera for a pair of modern takes, while the frequent HBO director Rodrigo Garcia's closing segment goes north of the border to examine immigrant life in contemporary Los Angeles.

Several weeks ago I spoke with Chad Troutwine, the producer of Freakonomics, another anthological film, about the virtues and pitfalls of this format. Andrew Schenker, writing for Slant Magazine last month, was mixed on Revolución, though said about the film's approach that the "possibilities for treatment remain almost limitless." With 10 films, it's hard to imagine any one of the entire batch would achieve the Buñuelian magnificence that sits atop Mexico's film history, but the overarching topic—the bloody past of a country struggling with a violent present—certainly intrigues.

At National Gallery of Art East Wing. 4th Street NW. Saturday, 2 p.m. Free.

Garbage Time: The fast-rising director Lucy Walker flooded the zeitgeist earlier this year with Countdown to Zero, a harrowing look at the likelihood of nuclear attack in the post-Cold War world. (As a Participant Media release, it is to nuclear war what Waiting for Superman is to education or An Inconvenient Truth is to global warming.) But Walker really turned heads in January when she snagged the audience award at Sundance for Waste Land, a portrait of scavengers at Rio de Janiero's Jardim Gramacho landfill. Waste Land follows not only the people who make their lives picking away at the world's largest trash heap, but highlights the artwork of the Brooklyn photographer Vik Muniz, a Brazil native who created a recent MoMA exhibit out of the garbage pickers' harvests. Waste Land is as much an artistic biography as it is a nudge in the greener direction, but here Walker eschews the alarmism of Countdown to Zero for a more intimate touch. The original score by Moby certainly helps the mood.

At the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. Independence Avenue and 7th Street SW. Thursday, 8 p.m. Free.

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  • http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com Jonathan L. Fischer

    That is an insanely dramatic trailer for what's probably just a series of understated vignettes.

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