16

T H U R S D A Y

Where taboos are concerned, cannibalism is second to none in its ability to generate morbid interest. And long before Alive! there was the Donner party. The documentary by Ric (brother of Ken) Burns relates the harrowing tale of the 1846 California-bound pioneers who took a relatively unknown detour through the Sierra Nevadas and were trapped there without provisions for the whole of a mountain winter. Amazingly, about half of the 87-member party survived. With a sense of humor, even: One former member, who was the target of considerable suspicion after the rescue (the idea was to eat people after they died natural deaths), later opened a successful restaurant. The Donner Party screens at noon at the National Archives Theater, 7th & Pennsylvania Ave. NW. FREE. (202) 501-5402. (Nicole Arthur)