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TO NOV. 22
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Curiously, most of the previewed films in this survey of new European films are eerie studies of female aloneness. (Unconscious, at 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 17, and 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19, is pictured) The most striking is French director Lucile Hadzihalilovic’s Innocence (at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 9, and 9:05 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12), a lushly visualized Brothers Grimm–meet–George Orwell parable that recounts a year at the world’s oddest girls’ ballet school. A similar blend of menace and preternatural calm characterizes Frederic Fonteyne’s Gilles’ Wife (at 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 13), in which a pregnant woman in 1930s Belgium seems to be dealing serenely with her husband’s affair with her younger sister. Set in the more banal world of contemporary suburban Germany, Maren Ade’s Forest for the Trees (at 10 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19, and 9:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 21) is a bleak tale of a fledgling teacher struggling to make a human connection at her new school and apartment complex. Marc Rothemund’s Sophie Scholl: The Last Days (at 6:15 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12 , and 8:35 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 14) recounts the 1943 interrogation and execution of the anti-Nazi student activist; although derived from newly discovered transcripts, this claustrophobic drama doesn’t add much to 1982’s The White Rose. Its protagonist is male, but Markku Polonen’s Dog Nail Clipper (at 12:20 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 13, and 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 16) fits well here; it follows a brain-damaged World War II vet on his eccentric quest to help a dog he’s never met. The series runs through Tuesday, Nov. 22 (see Showtimes for a weekly schedule), at the American Film Institute’s Silver Theatre and Cultural Center, 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. $9.25. (301) 495-6700. (Mark Jenkins)