There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
Ever since the Lumiere brothers startled French audiences in 1895 with their Arrival of a Train at a Station, trains have been an essential cinematic subject. The secular cathedrals known as train stations (“terminals” if they’re the end of the line) provide both dramatic ready-made locations and opportunities to bring divergent characters together. This National Gallery series includes such well-known train movies as Jiri Menzel’s Closely Watched Trains, a gentle coming-of-age comedy set in Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia (Sept. 5 at 12:30 p.m., shown with Arrival of a Train at a Station); David Lean’s Brief Encounter, in which a provincial station hosts two lovers’ weekly assignations (Sept. 7 at 2 p.m.); and Alfred Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train, a mystery whose locations include not only Washington’s Union Station (which is a station, not a terminal) but also the National Gallery itself (Sept. 7 at 3:30 p.m.). Other bustling terminals depicted in the series include Cairo Station, site of Youssef Chahine’s Egyptian-underclass love story (Sept. 6 at 4 p.m.); Rome’s Terminal Station(pictured), where a married American women tries to break off her affair (Sept. 7 at noon); and Central do Brasil, the Rio De Janeiro station that’s the location of Walter Salles’ 1997 film about a woman who sets up a shop to write letters for illiterate customers (Sept. 12 at 3 p.m.). At the National Gallery of Art’s East Building Auditorium, 4th & Constitution Ave. NW. Free. (202) 737-4215. (Mark Jenkins).