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to nov. 5.
This always interesting fest opens with one of the strongest, most diverse lineups of its 11-year history. I Saw Ben Barka Get Killed (at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 27; at 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28) reconstructs the likely fate of a Moroccan political activist who vanished in Paris in 1965; the plot against him, bizarrely, involved duping director Georges Franju and novelist Marguerite Duras. A wry, poignant look at the Palestinian condition, Waiting (at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 27; at 8:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 29) follows a cranky filmmaker as he tapes auditions for a planned National Palestinian Theater. Set in the Tunisian desert, The Prince That Contemplated His Soul (at 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 27; at 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28) is an enchanted tapestry of Sufi parables involving a blind dervish, his young granddaughter, and a mystical gazelle. Showing the harshness of life both under and after Saddam Hussein, Ahlaam (at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28; at 8:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 29) introduces three people who ultimately meet in a Baghdad asylum; the title character is a woman whose groom was seized at their wedding by government thugs. The fest continues next weekend with such films as the Lebanese musical Bosta (at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 3; at 8 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 5) and Yemen’s first-ever feature, A New Day in Old Sana’a (pictured; at 9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 3; at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 4). The films show to Sunday, Nov. 5, at the AMC Loews Wisconsin Avenue, 4000 Wisconsin Ave. NW. $9. (202) 724-5613. (Mark Jenkins)