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The practice of mingling documentary and fiction, long a controversial cinematic technique, is usually traced to the neorealist style that arose in the rubble of postwar Italy. In fact, though, the approach is nearly as old as Hollywood itself: American director Robert Flaherty pioneered docu-fiction with his Nanook of the North, a 1922 film that shaped documentary footage of Hudson Bay Eskimos into a fictionalized narrative. Flaherty’s long-term influence can be seen in The Quiet One, a 1949 film that replaces Nanook’s naturalism with a political agenda. Director Sidney Meyers, an editor of British and American propaganda films during World War II, turned his camera on the African-American experience with this 67-minute film, made with a nonprofessional cast at Esopus, N.Y.,’s Wiltwyck School for Boys. The first major American film to have a black youth as its protagonist, The Quiet One was also one of the first to confront American racism and African-American poverty. In it, Donald Thompson plays an emotionally disturbed 10-year-old who tells a counselor (played by actual Wiltwyck counselor Clarence Cooper) of the abuse that has led to his current state. Narrated and written by novelist and film critic James Agee, The Quiet One won numerous awards and honors, including the International Prize at the Venice Film Festival and a Oscar nomination for Best Documentary Feature. At noon Friday, June 25, at the National Archives Theater, 8th & Constitution Ave. NW. Free. (202) 501-5000. (Mark Jenkins)