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THURSDAY

In what could have turned out to be the ultimate act of narcissism, Alan Berliner has made a fascinating hourlong film about his own moniker. In a wry, contemplative, brilliantly edited cine-essay, he explores the origins, metaphysics, and psychological implications of names. The Sweetest Sound begins as comedy, highlighted by Berliner’s persistent interrogation of his parents about how they came to choose his name and a visit to a convention of the Jim Smith Society. Combing the world via the Internet, he tracks down 12 other Alan Berliners (including another filmmaker, who directed the 1997 coming-of-age comedy-drama Ma Vie en Rose) and invites them to a dinner party. His quest to discover the roots of his identity ultimately leads to a meditation on death (sequences involving the AIDS Quilt, the Holocaust Museum, and the Vietnam War Memorial) capped by a vision of cyberspace immortality. This original, provocative, and deeply satisfying movie screens at 8 p.m. at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden’s Ring Auditorium, 7th and Independence Avenue SW. Free. (202) 357-3091. (Joel E. Siegel)