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to sept. 19
The sixth edition of this hard-working event is meant to enlighten and entertain, not to be a chore. There are even such mainstream entries as North Country (at 4:25 p.m., Friday, Sept. 15; at 7:45 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 17), for which Charlize Theron dirtied herself just a little to play a mine employee who won a landmark sexual-harassment case, and Chicken Run (at 1 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 17; at 5 p.m., Monday, Sept. 18, & Tuesday, Sept. 19), an animated tale of workers who are about to be literally sucked into the machinery of capitalism. The series begins with Man Push Cart (pictured; at 7 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 14; at 1 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 16; at 9:30 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 19), the story of a Pakistani pop star who starts over as a Manhattan bagel-and-coffee vendor; director Ramin Bahrani will attend the opening-night screening. Unsurprisingly, the role of Latino-immigrant laborers is a motif: A Day Without a Mexican (at 5:20 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 16) is a mock doc about the resulting chaos when all of California’s Hispanic workers vanish for a day; Farmingville (at 5 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 17) is a real documentary about two Mexican men whose job search led to their murder. Other highlights include Workingman’s Death (at 7 p.m., Friday, Sept. 15; at 7 p.m., Monday, Sept. 18), a silent meditation on hard labor in six “developing” countries; and The Ax (at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 16; at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 19), Costa-Gavras’ black comedy about one man’s extreme reaction to unemployment. The DC Labor FilmFest runs to Tuesday, Sept. 19, at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center, 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. $9.25. (301) 495-6700. (Mark Jenkins)