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To March 26
It’s no surprise that the 14th Annual Environmental Film Festival offers documentaries that condemn Sprawlville (The End of Suburbia, at 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 22, at the Canadian Embassy), observe charismatic megafauna (A Life Among Whales, at 7:30 p.m Wednesday, March 22, at the National Geographic Society), and profile a noted architect (Moshe Safde: The Power of Architecture at 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 20, at the Jewish Community Center). What’s notable this year is that several of the films offer as much art as information. California avant-gardist James Benning’s 13 Lakes (at 8 p.m. Thursday, March 23, at the Hirshhorn Museum) is an austere, but by no means uneventful, series of vignettes, presented in 10-minute slices of real time. Much more mainstream, but comparably beautiful, is Black Stallion director Carroll Ballard’s Duma (pictured; shows at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, March 19, at the Avalon Theater), a charming adventure tale about the quest of a boy and his cheetah. Werner Herzog heads for Guyana’s Kaieteur Falls in a helium airship, matching airborne adventure to rare vistas of untouched jungle, in White Diamond (at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, March 19, at the National Gallery). In all, there are more than 100 films—45 of them premieres—from 23 countries, including shorts, animation, a Terrence Malick retrospective, and reprises of such critical successes as Darwin’s Nightmare (at 8 p.m. Friday, March 17, at the Embassy of Austria). And, of course, March of the Penguins (at 11:30 a.m. Sunday, March 19, at the National Gallery). The festival runs through Sunday, March 26 (see Showtimes for complete schedule and details), at multiple venues. Some screenings free. (202) 342-2564. (Mark Jenkins)