OCT. 6–8

OK, so the Amnesty International Film Festival isn’t going to be a barrel of laughs. Poignant? Yes. Topical? Oh, you betcha. But side-splittingly hilarious? Not so much. (Then again, you can’t exactly prance on up to the box office, fork over a wad of cash for a flick focused on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict or the effects of globalization and expect the funny.) Which is exactly why a few entries in this year’s crop of documentaries, shorts, and feature films may raise a few eyebrows. (Marc Allen’s War Games, at 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8, is pictured.) Ari Sandel’s musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, titled West Bank Story (at 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8), which follows the star-crossed offspring of two competing falafel-stand-owning families, and David Redmon’s documentary Mardi Gras: Made in China (at 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8), which follows the trail of beads dangling above bare breasts in Louisiana back to the Chinese factory where they were manufactured, both add a dash of humor to the expected righteous indignation. However, for those who prefer their atrocities against humanity without any lighthearted tomfoolery, there is a bountiful assortment of suffering, pain, and misery, as well. Hubert Sauper’s multiple-award-winning documentary Darwin’s Nightmare (at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 6) focuses on the adorable Nile perch, a predatory (and delicious) fish introduced into Tanzania’s Lake Victoria by foreign capitalists—and whose first act of business was to promptly devour all other living creatures in the lake, leaving the locals pretty much screwed. And with the title Innocent Voices (at 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 8), you just know that Luis Mandoki’s feature film about an 11-year-old boy forced to become the man of the house after his father abandons the family in the middle of a civil war is going to be a tear-jerker. The fest opens Thursday, Oct. 6, and runs through Saturday, Oct. 8, at the National Geographic’s Grosvenor Auditorium, 1600 M St. NW. $8. (202) 857-7700. (Matthew Borlik)