There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
The tale of a 10-year-old Sri Lankan street kid who wants to buy a bicycle and escape his family, Somaratne Dissanayake’s Butterfly Wings seems to fit into a tradition that runs from ’40s Italian neorealism to its Indian and Iranian descendants. Yet, when it comes to essential Italian-neorealist classics, the director notes, “I haven’t even seen The Bicycle Thief, though I have always wanted to see it.” Perhaps he doesn’t need to. Dissanayake’s scenario combines neorealism’s child’s-eye view of an unjust world with a grown-up critique of contemporary Third World existence: In addition to a generous Westerner who gives the boy enough money to—just maybe—buy a bike, the drama’s supporting characters include a foreigner on a pedophile’s grand tour and do-gooders who prevent kids from working without offering alternative financial support. The film shows at 7 p.m. at the Freer Gallery of Art, 12th Street & Jefferson Drive SW. Free. (202) 633-4880. (Mark Jenkins)