OCT. 14–23

Regional film fests such as this one, now in its 10th year, introduce national cinemas (and thus whole societies) as well as individual filmmakers. Both missions can have a salutary effect. After showcasing several of Palestinian director Hany Abu-Assad’s films in previous years, Arabian Sights won’t be screening his latest, the powerful Paradise Now, because it’s going into commercial release next month. Perhaps similar success awaits some of the directors represented this year, such as Ruba Nadda, who will introduce Sabah (at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 14, and 9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 15), her tale of a Syrian-Canadian woman who hides a non-Arab boyfriend from her family. Other notable directors include “Algerian Almodóvar” Nadir Moknsche, whose Viva Algeria (pictured; at 9:15 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 15, and 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 16) follows three women who reject traditional notions of propriety; and Merzak Allouache, in whose Bab El Web (at 9:15 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22, and 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 23) a young Algerian man panics when a cyber pal announces she’s coming to visit. Among the filmmakers who will introduce their work are Jocelyn Saab, whose Kiss Me Not (at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 15, and 8:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 16) is about a Cairo University student; and Mohammed Zran, whose The Prince (at 8:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 21, and 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22) observes the transformation of an aimless Tunisian flower seller. The series opens Friday, Oct. 14, and runs through Sunday, Oct. 23 (see Showtimes for a weekly schedule), at Loews Cineplex Wisconsin Avenue Cinemas, 4000 Wisconsin Ave. NW. $9. For more information call (202) 724-5613 or go to www.filmfestdc.org. (Mark Jenkins)