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Thursday: The Best and the Brightest at the Avalon Theatre
Next to a parking spot less than a block from one’s apartment, the most difficult thing to find in certain parts of Manhattan is enrollment at one of New York City’s private kindergartens. The culture is so competitive that some parents even sue their children’s preschool for not adequately preparing the tots for the rigors of private grade school. The Best and the Brightest, the debut feature by Josh Shelov, dramatizes this little-tykes rat race, but don’t worry, no one here is waiting for Superman. The social-climbing parents played by Neil Patrick Harris and Bonnie Summerville use an archive of dirty text messages to advertise their daughter as a wunderkind e.e. cummings-type while applying to schools. It unravels from there.
Screens at 8 p.m. at the Avalon Theatre, 5612 Connecticut Ave. NW. $11. (202) 966-6000.
Friday: DC Caribbean Filmfest at AFI Silver Theatre
The 11th year of this tour at Caribbean art and history kicks off with ’70: Remembering a Revolution, which looks back at the Black Power Revolution of 1970 in Trinidad and Tobago. The series also includes several films profiling the music of the region, including The Other Side of the Water, a profile of a Haitian rara band living in Brooklyn, and The Upsetter: The Life and Music of Lee “Scratch” Perry, a portrait of the reggae inventor whose disciples include Bob Marley, Paul McCartney, and The Clash.
Click here for all films and times. ’70: Remembering a Revolution screens at 7 p.m. at AFI Silver Theatre, 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. All films $11. (301) 495-6720.
Saturday: Flaherty Seminar Selection of Shorts at the National Gallery of Art
Whoever said upstate New York was a cesspool for movies clearly wasn’t remembering the annual Flaherty Seminar at Colgate University in Hamilton. The seminar, founded in 1955, honors the work of Robert Flaherty, considered the progenitor of American documentaries, though its pricey attendance fee ($1,300 for late registrants), includes plenty more than a few archival films. A handful of the being presented at last year’s seminar will be screened this weekend at the National Gallery of Art, including Michael Glawogger‘s Haiku, a three-minute composition of bright lights and clanging metal.
Screens at 2 p.m. at the National Gallery of Art East Wing, 4th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. Free. (202) 842-6799
Sunday: The Meaning of Tea at the Freer and Sackler Galleries
Director Scott Chamberlain Hoyt went around the world in search of the unifying importance of tea. He went to India, Japan, Europe, North Africa, and even to Tea, S.D. (Having been to that last locale, I can confirm that no one in that dusty farm town near the Iowa border is holding high tea ceremonies.) But Hoyt looked at the global ubiquity, cultural significance, and commercialization of the brew in this 75-minute documentary. And the first 100 to this screening will get to attend a Taiwanese tea ceremony after the movie.
Screens at 2 p.m. at the Freer and Sackler Galleries, 1050 Independence Avenue SW. Free. (202) 633-1000