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Tonight: Network at the Artisphere
Sure, the mere mention of Sidney Lumet‘s opus on television conjures the urge to scream out that one is mad as hell and prepared not to take “it” anymore. Paddy Chayefsky’s script was meant as the harshest satire, of course, but there were still only three networks back then. In today’s panoply of channels, every station has its own Diana Christensen, the programming executive played by Faye Dunaway labeled “television incarnate” in one of Network‘s many necessary come-to-Jesus moments. Then there’s Howard Beale (Peter Finch), the tired, brilliant, and stark-raving mad doomsayer packaged as “infotainment.” Today’s airwaves are littered with his descendants—overhyped carnival barkers whose cheap thrills in the real world can’t match Lumet and Chayefsky’s best work.
Screens at 8 p.m. at the Artisphere, 1101 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington. $6. (703) 875-1100
Friday: Spaceballs at Rosslyn Outdoor Film Festival
Spaceballs was far from Mel Brooks’ best work when it was released in 1987. A quarter century later, it’s still not that great, but damn if the scene in the sage mentor Yogurt’s (Brooks) gift shop wasn’t prophetic. No action or fantasy film can pass through theaters today without constantly tapping that well called “moichandizing.” Personally, I’m still waiting for Spaceballs: The Flame Thrower.
Screens at dusk at Gateway Park, Lee Highway and Key Bridge, Arlington. Free. (703) 552-6628
Saturday: Sleepless Night Stories at the National Gallery of Art
For half a century Jonas Mekas‘ has captured lasting images of the New York art scene while almost single-handedly propping up American avant-garde film. His camera tracked the rise and fall of Andy Warhol‘s Factory. At 89, he’s still going with Sleepless Night Stories, an anthology of late hours spent across bars, clubs, studios, apartments, and other arty hangouts. Mekas begins the film stating, “I can’t sleep”; with characters like Patti Smith, Yoko Ono, and Marina Abramovic show up, who would want to?
Screens at 4:30 p.m. at the National Gallery of Art East Wing, 4th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. Free. (202) 842-6799
Monday: Bill Cunningham New York at the Corcoran Gallery of Art
Another film about The New York Times might be getting all the attention right now, but it’s only the second-best documentary about the paper to be released this year. Bill Cunningham New York takes place on the other side of the newsroom, but it’s inescapably charming. Bill Cunningham, the 82-year-old photographer, who since 1978 has contributed a pair of weekly photo essays to the Times style sections, is a legend in New York’s cutthroat fashion world—even Anna Wintour speaks with reverence toward the shooter. Along with Wintour, Iris Apfel, Tom Wolfe, David Rockefeller, and other Manhattan big shots dote on Cunningham’s work, though the photographer’s own private life is the inverse of their elegant domains. Despite his constant presence at high-society functions, Cunningham is an eternal loner. For years he inhabited a cubby-sized studio above Carnegie Hall until he was kicked out last year to make way for high-end commercial space.
Screens at 7 p.m. at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, 500 17th Street NW. $8/10. (202) 639-1700