TUESDAY

In the Gambia, West Africa, locals have a nickname for foreigners; they call them “Tubabs,” a term derived from “two bob,” the standard fee British colonialists used to pay Gambians for odd jobs. In Tubabs in Africa, local documentarian Mary Flannery follows a group of students from St. Mary’s College in Maryland on a summerlong jaunt deep into the Gambia to study West African language and culture. The result is a kind of Henderson the Rain King-meets-Road Rules story about a group of American teenagers traveling outside their comfort zones in search of adventure, knowledge, and self-discovery. Throughout, the documentary is more PBS than MTV: Flannery steers away from anything remotely bawdy or titillating. Instead, she investigates issues surrounding modern-day colonialism, Westerners’ relationship to developing countries, and the traditions of the Gambian people. Ultimately, there’s nothing unusual or outstanding about the summer program or the students on it. Instead, the film serves as a meditation on that familiar topic, the study-abroad experience. And like any travel experience, the movie is most entertaining when things go wrong. The bus breaks down, the students get lost, a mission goes awry, and the very moments that seem to suck at the time end up being the most memorable. Anyone who spent time overseas during college or high school will see a reminder of his travels in Flannery’s film and recall a bit of the Tubab in himself. The film screens at 7 and 9 p.m. Tuesday, July 22, at Visions Cinema Bistro Lounge, 1927 Florida Ave. NW. $9. (202) 667-0090. (Felix Gillette)