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The programmers who book the annual New African Films Festival face a monumental task. Africa’s cinematic pool is Olympic-sized times a million, and narrowing those choices down to the 11 pictures in this year’s festival requires gold-medal endurance. The ninth edition opens with Nairobi Half Life , a drama about a young Kenyan man determined to become an actor. South Africa provides the festival’s lone documentary, Breathe Again, which tells the story of swimmer Derek Orderson, who was unable to compete in the Olympics in the 1980s due to the apartheid boycott against South Africa. Read more >>> The festival runs to March 12 at the AFI Silver Theatre, 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. $7–$12. (301) 495-6700. afi.com/silver. (Christopher Porter)
Chinatown’s new ramen shop Daikaya is now open for lunch as well as dinner. To get you in the mood, check out this week’s Y&H column on chef and partner Katsuya Fukushima and his transition from high-end molecular gastronomy to traditional ramen. If you like what you eat, consider ordering the $10 “Ode to Alla Spina,” which buys the kitchen crew a six-pack of beer. Daikaya, 705 6th St. NW. (202) 589-1600. daikaya.com. (Jessica Sidman)
OH AND ALSO
The Stockholm Royal Dramatic Theatre’s production of Fanny and Alexander makes its U.S. debut at the Kennedy Center’s Nordic Cool festival tonight. Based on Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman’s Academy Award-winning 1982 film of the same name, the play (performed in Swedish with English supertitles) highlights themes typical to Bergman’s work: love, death, and the dark side of religiosity. Active in theater throughout his life, Bergman directed more than 30 plays at the Royal Dramatic Theatre over the course of his career. You’d be hard pressed to find a group better equipped to handle the great director’s work. 7:30 p.m. at the Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theatre. $49-$80. Runs through March 9. (Benjamin Preston)
In other Nordic happenings: Check out Swedish electronica duo The Deer Tracks. They play with F.O.X. at the Black Cat Backstage. 8 p.m. at the Black Cat Backstage, 1811 14th St. NW. $12.
The first night of the D.C. Independent Film Festival was postponed yesterday, but you can check out the opening night films, The First Winter and Granny Baby, tonight instead. 8:30 p.m. at the U.S. Naval Heritage Center, 701 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. $12.
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