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TO March 7

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With more than 100 films scheduled—mostly shorts, but lots of features, too—navigating this year’s DCIFF is a challenge. For those viewers who aren’t obsessive enough to attend every screening, there are few guideposts; none of the entries were made available for preview by the fest, although a few have been circulated by their makers. The series opened Thursday with its big-budget, big-star attraction: Elie Chouraqui’s Harrison’s Flowers, the vivid if ultimately unpersuasive tale of a woman (Andie McDowell) who ventures into war-torn Yugoslavia to find her husband, a combat photographer (David Straithairn) who’s been reported dead. Also in the lineup are the local premieres of two shorts, Ray McKinnon’s The Accountant (at 6 p.m. Saturday, March 2) and Virgil Widrich’s Copy Shop (at 2:45 p.m. Sunday, March 3), that are good enough to have been nominated for Oscars. Another film that comes highly recommended is Chris Deux’s (pictured with director of photography and producer Chris Emmanouilides) Talk Fast (at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 2), which observes would-be screenwriters making their pitch to producers; it’s reputed to be hilarious without being cruel. Decidedly cruel—but also funny and inventive—is Alvin Ecarma’s Lethal Force, a gory action-flick spoof (at 2 p.m. Wednesday, March 6). Also of interest is Quentin Kelly’s North of Dupont (at noon, Monday, March 4), a romantic comedy whose Adams Morgan and Capitol Hill locations sometimes upstage the dialogue. Conflict of interest alert: Lethal Force features the voice of Washington City Paper Webmeister Dave Nuttycombe, and one North of Dupont scene was shot at the paper. To Thursday, March 7, at Visions Cinema Bistro Lounge, 1927 Florida Ave. NW. $8.50. (202) 537-9493. (Mark Jenkins)