This Week in Repertory Film: In the Land of the Free…, Lou Harrison, Fugazi
The Human Rights Watch International Film Festival continues at the West End Cinema tonight with In the Land of the Free..., a stirring 2010 documentary about three decades of solitary confinement endured by a trio of prisoners in Louisiana's Angola Prison. The three prisoners, Robert Hillary King, Albert Woodfox, and Herman Wallace, founded the inmate branch of the Black Panther Party—a fact repeatedly invoked in their conviction in the 1972 death of a prison guard at the notorious facility. King was released in 2001 after pleading guilty to a lesser charge, but Woodfox and Wallace's separation from the rest of humanity continues into its 38th year in a jail that has been called the "Alcatraz of the South." Among director Vadim Jean's interviewees are Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., and the victim's widow, who believes King, Woodfox, and Wallace are innocent. Samuel L. Jackson narrates. A question-and-answer section with King follows tonight's screening.
Tonight, 7 p.m. At West End Cinema, 2301 M Street NW. (202) 419-3456. $11. Click here for tickets.
The National Gallery of Art's Italian neorealism series continues Saturday with Carlo Lizzani's Chronicle of Poor Lovers, but the choice films at the NGA this weekend are a pair of music documentaries. First is Lou Harrison: A World of Music, a profile of the late composer who pioneered American classical music as one of the first to incorporate Eastern sounds into contemporary works. Director Eva Soltes spent nearly 20 years archiving Harrison's life and career; the film spans his life as a musical innovator and gay activist. Soltes features musical outtakes, interviews with Harrison, and plenty of footage of live performances of the composer's many symphonies and operas.
Saturday, 4 p.m. At the National Gallery of Art East Wing, 4th Street and Constitution Avenue NW, (202) 842-6799. Free.
Jem Cohen's 1999 Fugazi documentary Instrument is as wild and experimental as the band itself. (The AV Club called the film "purely self-indulgent," but noted that Fugazi has earned that allowance.) Cohen's look at the definitive post-hardcore group spans a decade of concerts, interviews with band members, and found footage. Notable scenes include Guy Picciotto playing guitar while hanging upside down from a basketball hoop and Picciotto and Ian MacKaye sitting down with an eighth-grade student for a cable access show. Shot on a mix of Super-8, 16-millimeter, and video, Instrument is a ceaseless ride through Fugazi's career featuring a soundtrack of some of the band's deepest cuts. Cohen, MacKaye, and Picciotto will be at the NGA on Sunday to talk about the film.
Sunday, 5 p.m. At the National Gallery of Art East Wing, 4th Street and Constitution Avenue NW, (202) 842-6799. Free.