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TO APRIL 17
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To judge by its wide-ranging assortment of more than 75 films, this fest defines your environment as everything in the world that isn’t you. Many of the selections are straightforward nature documentaries of the sort that are mostly made for TV, such as writer/photographer Hugh Miles’s Puma: Lion of the Andes, a remarkably intimate portrait of the elusive cats in a Patagonian national park (Museum of Natural History, April 13 at 1 p.m.; National Geographic Society, April 15 at noon). But there are also more fanciful views of the natural world, such as the French macro-lens fantasia Microcosmos, which anthropomorphizes insects not with voice-over but with music (French Embassy, April 14 at 7 p.m.). Then there are films that focus mostly on humans, like Landscapes of Memory (pictured), a poetic study of Brazil’s rural northern desert region that combines documentary footage with mythic meditations (National Gallery of Art, April 13 at 6 p.m.). Also included are fiction films such as The Land, an Egyptian account of a battle between a peasant and large landowners (Freer Gallery, April 11 at 7 p.m.). There’s even a comedy, Ratataplan, in which a man seeks work in a sterile complex where the depiction of the natural world is banned (American Film Institute, April 13 at 4:15 p.m.). Virtually all the city’s museums and repertory-film venues are participating in the festival. Most screenings are FREE; see Film Listings and Showtimes for complete information. (202) 342-2564. (Mark Jenkins)