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October 15–24

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For the ninth year running, Filmfest DC shows Washington the Arab world as reflected in its recent cinema: tales of culture clash in major cities, glimpses of traditional lifestyles in desert and mountain regions, and stories that could—a few cultural signifiers aside—be set in the contemporary West. This time, the Arabian Sights fest opens with one of those: Sleepless Nights (at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 15, and 9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 16) follows four upscale Egyptian couples as they commit adultery, smoke hashish, squabble with in-laws, and endure sexual dysfunction. By American standards, this is PG-13 stuff, but it’s no surprise that it was a box-office sensation at home. Far from such urban tribulations, Zaman, the Man From the Reeds (pictured; at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 23, and 8:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 24) is the tale of a Marsh Arab who must leave his simple, picturesque surroundings to get medicine for his wife; it’s the first Iraqi feature film in 15 years. Among the other movies are In Casablanca, the Angels Don’t Fly (at 9:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 15, and 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 17), in which a pregnant Berber woman tries to stay in touch with her husband, who’s working in the big city; We Loved Each Other So Much (at 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 16, and 8:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 17), an account of life in divergent Beirut neighborhoods linked only by the voice of popular singer Fairuz; and Women Beyond Borders (at 9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 23, and 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 24), a documentary about a poet, a feminist, and a political prisoner. The festival opens Friday, Oct. 15, and runs through Sunday, Oct. 24, at Loews Cineplex Wisconsin Avenue, 4000 Wisconsin Ave. $9. (202) 724-5613. (Mark Jenkins)