There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.

to oct. 28

Washington’s first festival of contemporary French cinema is something worth toasting, but Gallic filmmakers don’t seem to be in a celebratory mood; no fewer than three of these movies deal with political corruption. The most charming is Chris Marker’s The Case of the Grinning Cat (pictured; at 2:20 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 14, and 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 15), a characteristically whimsical meditation on protest, 9/11, and felines, both actual and symbolic. In Comedy of Power (at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 13, and Thursday, Oct. 19), Claude Chabrol forgoes his customary Hitchcockian climax for a quiet, rueful account of a magistrate’s battle against graft, while the appropriately old-fashioned The Tiger Brigades (at 9 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 17, and 6:45 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 22) returns to 1912 for a tale of scandal that’s thematically up-to-date. Of course, it wouldn’t be a French film fest without a few willful female adolescents: The 15-year-old protagonist of On Fire (at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 18, and 5:45 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 21) fans her lust for a fireman into a literal conflagration; the slightly older girl in Riviera (at 9:15 p.m. Friday, Oct. 13, and Sunday, Oct. 22) is a pretty nightclub dancer who transfixes men, although it turns out that her mother is the one to watch. Also included are a program of shorts (at 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28, at the National Gallery of Art) and three screenings at the Maison Française. See Showtimes for details; visit afi.com/silver/new/ for a complete schedule. The films show at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center, 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. $9.25. (301) 495-6700. (Mark Jenkins)