A half-century ago and long before he we was a fugitive from the California Attorney General’s office and the butt of tired late-night talk show monologues, Roman Polanski was an aspiring filmmaker at Poland’s national film and theater academy in Lodz. Clouded by the darker nature of the bulk of his filmography — the horrors of Rosemary’s Baby, grittiness of Chinatown and bleakness of The Pianist come to mind — Polanski’s earliest works were more surreal and almost Kubrickian in their absurdity.
This weekend the National Gallery of Art plays host to a tour of a selection of Polanski’s Lodz period accompanied by live music from the Warsaw-based electronic duo Sza/Za. Among the seven short films in this anthology are Two Men and a Wardrobe, in which two men emerge from the ocean hoisting a wardrobe, only to be turned back by an attack by a gang of young thugs, one of whom is played by a then-25-year-old Polanski. Also playing is When Angels Fall, a series of reminiscences by a public restroom attendant which has the distinction of being Polanski’s first color film.
At National Gallery of Art East Wing. 4th Street NW. Saturday, 4:30 p.m. Free.
Local Short: The Artisphere in Rosslyn plays host to the 20th installment of the Rosebud Film Festival, a roundup of the best experimental films from around the DMV. Among the 20 titles playing during the seven-hour festival on Saturday is Tracks, a 30-minute psychological drama directed by Kevyn Settle and Gerard Ender. Settle, also the film’s writer, stars as Martin, a drug-addled amputee who roams the streets and rail yards around Baltimore.
At the Artisphere. 1101 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, Va. Saturday, 12:30 p.m. $10.
Kinky Shit: Let’s say you really wanted to check out a local swingers’ venue, but you were having trouble coming up with a valid excuse that won’t piss off your significant other. You’re in luck this weekend, as The Crucible, the Navy Yard establishment that bills itself as the area’s only alternative lifestyles club (i.e., don’t forget the leather) plays host to CineKink, a roadshow of films about fetishes, peccadilloes and all your other sexual curiosities. A few of the short films in the lineup Friday include The Sheep and the Ranch Hand, in which a woman transforms into a sheep and takes a roll in the hay with…well, the title says it all. For news junkies, Coverage takes couple’s post-9/11 TV news addiction and turns it into sexual obsession.
Saturday’s schedule is devoted to bondage and discipline, including Housekeeper, a 12-minute kidnapping tale in which a dominatrix takes a wealthy couple hostage. The lone feature at CineKink is Modern Love is Automatic a 2009 black comedy about a nurse with a side gig as a dominatrix by D.C. native Zach Clark, who will be on hand for questions after the screening. Also on the docket after the lights go up: an end-of-festival BDSM party!
At The Crucible. 1816 Half Street SW. Friday, 8 p.m. and Saturday 6 p.m. $10/$15 per screening, $40 for all screenings and the party.