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FRIDAY

Hollywood calls itself a “dream factory,” but most of its movies are actually dream killers. The imagistic possibilities explored by assorted dadaists, surrealists, and expressionists in cinema’s first few decades have been suppressed in favor of the most banal of genre formulas and wish-fulfillment fantasies. Far from Hollywood, however, various upstarts have continued to advance the work of film’s early innovators. Without ever leaving his native Ohio, painter-turned-director (and onetime Kent State film professor) Richard Myers explored alternate cinematic universes, crafting low-budget, highly personal reveries that attempt to plumb the American unconscious. One of his landmark works is 1969’s Akran (pictured), which the filmmaker says is about “a mythological city”—not to be confused with Akron—“where past and present meet.” The two-hour film uses image and sound, rather than narrative, to depict what Myers calls the “alienated technological consumer America” of the late ’60s—which could hardlya be a more pertinent topic today. Tonight’s rare screening of Akran will be preceded by three kindred short works: German dadaist Hans Richter’s 1921 Rhythmus 21—which some have dubbed the first abstract film—and 1928’s Ghosts Before Breakfast employ abstraction, editing tricks, and rudimentary special effects to defy expectations and the laws of physics. Also on the program is the mysterious Fugue in D Minor, a two-minute piece discovered in the Library of Congress’ vast holdings; this evening’s programmer describes it as “a weird scene about music, the human body, and just acting daft.” The program starts at 7 p.m. at the Library of Congress’ Mary Pickford Theater, 101 Independence Ave. SE. Free. (202) 707-5677.