There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
SATURDAY & SUNDAY
Not a prize but a prized event, “The Flaherty” is an annual seminar in the spirit of pioneering filmmaker Robert Flaherty (1884-1951), who’s been called the father of the documentary. From its origin as an informal affair held at Flaherty’s widow’s farm in 1955, the symposium has grown into a major showcase for films by Flaherty, his peers, and his conceptual descendants. This two-day program, based on the 2001 seminar, opens at the National Gallery of Art with Flaherty’s best-known film, Nanook of the North (at 12:30 p.m. Saturday), a 1922 docudrama about the survival struggles of a Canadian Inuit family that became an unlikely commercial hit. It’s complemented by Wedding of Palo (at 3:45 p.m.), Knud Rasmussen and Friedrich Dalsheim’s 1934 tale of an Inuit love triangle, which offers spectacular views of Greenland. Also featured is Beauty Will Save the World (at 2 p.m. Saturday), Stefan Jarl’s digital-video tribute to his documentary mentor, Arne Sucksdorf, a Swede who filmed nature in both Scandinavia and the Amazon; it will be shown with two shorts by Slovenia’s Andrej Zdravic: Obon, an account of the annual Japanese Buddhist ceremony to guide ancestors’ spirits, as practiced in Hawaii; and Origin, which observes the meeting of lava and sea. The program concludes with a film by one of the best contemporary documentarians, Netherlander Heddy Honigmann, whose The Underground Orchestra (pictured, at 4 p.m. Sunday) tells the stories of the musicians who perform in the Paris Metro, many of whom are political refugees. The films all screen Saturday, Feb. 23, and Sunday, Feb. 24, at the National Gallery of Art’s East Building Auditorium, 4th and Constitution Avenue NW. Free. (202) 842-6799. (Mark Jenkins)