We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
A rather grim set of films on the docket today: We’ve got films that address World War II, the civil war in Guatemala, and wars in Uganda and Sierra Leone. And, to lighten the load a bit, a portrait of an iconic octogenarian New Yorker.
La Isla: Archives of a Tragedy
Director Uli Stelzner’s film focuses on the 2005 discovery of a massive, 50-year-old archive of secret police activities housed in the national police headquarters in Guatemala, nine years after the country’s civil war ended. Stelzner focuses on the stories of the young researchers who sifted through the files and found stories of their own family members who disappeared during the civil war. Benjamin R. Freed writes that while the history—violent military dictatorships, violated human rights—is nothing new, “the personal stories in La Isla should appeal to any fan of the theater of statecraft.”
At 1:30 p.m. at AFI Silver Theater 3; also on Thursday, June 24, at 1:45 p.m. at AFI Silver Theater 2.
A Film Unfinished
Director Yael Hersonski’s film examines an unfinished Nazi propaganda film, shot in 1942 and discovered after the war, about the Warsaw ghetto. With neither narration nor soundtrack, historians have since used the film to piece together what Jewish life was like in Poland just before the camps. The gruesome, all-too-real footage can be painful to watch. “To say this film hurts is an understatement,” writes Tessa Moran. “It aches.”
At 2:30 p.m. at AFI Silver Theater 1; also on Sunday, June 27, at 4 p.m. Silver Theater 3.
Grace, Milly, Lucy…Child Solders
Director Raymond Provencher explores the lives of the lives of Grace, Milly, and Lucy, three young Ugandan women who were kidnapped by the Lord’s Resistance Army, an anti-government militia, and forced into combat. Milly and Lucy escaped after several years and have returned to their families in Uganda; Grace escaped after several months and went to college in the U.S. Benjamin R. Freed writes that though Provencher’s film takes no risks, “it doesn’t need to—the stories of Grace Akallo, Milly Auma, and Lucy Lanyero are haunting in their simplicity.”
At 3:15 p.m. at the Discovery HD Theater; also on Friday, June 25, at 1:15 p.m. at AFI Silver Theater 2.
Bill Cunningham New York
80-year-old Bill Cunningham hops on his bike every day, camera in tow, and seeks out the best in style for Sunday’s On the Street column in the New York Times. Though Cunningham is much-beloved in the fashion industry, director Richard Press‘ portrait reveals that “even though everyone knows Cunningham, no one really knows him,” writes Maura Judkis.
At 4 p.m. at AFI Silver Theater 3; also on Wednesday, June 23, at 2 p.m. at AFI Silver Theater 1.
War Don Don
Sometimes the cases against accused war criminals isn’t as cut-and-dried as they seem. Director Rebecca Richman Cohen explores the trial of Issa Sesay, brought to the United Nations special court with the accusation of the rape, mutilation, and execution of thousands during Sierra Leone’s 11-year civil war. While Tessa Moran finds Cohen’s balanced examination admirable—”Her close look at the accused, the defense, the prosecution, the court, and the people of Sierra Leone exposes the complex nature of the international court system in a nuanced, compelling way,” she finds that the film “suffers from a shortage of intimate interviews of the victims—interviews that may have helped viewers understand the sheer magnitude of the atrocities Sesay’s case is all about.”
At 4:15 p.m. at AFI Silver Theater 2; also on Saturday, June 26, at 3 p.m. at the Discovery HD Theater.
At 5 p.m. at AFI Silver Theater 1; also on Thursday, June 24, at 1:30 p.m. at AFI Silver Theater 3.
Wo Ai Ni Mommy
At 5:30 p.m. at the Discovery HD Theater; also on Saturday, June 26, at 11 a.m. at AFI Silver Theater 3.
Screens with Il Velo at 6:30 p.m. at AFI Silver Theater 3; also on Friday, June 25, at 2:15 p.m. at AFI Silver Theater 1.
Screens with HolyWars at 6:30 p.m. at AFI Silver Theater 3; also on Friday, June 25, at 2:15 p.m. at AFI Silver Theater 1.
The Kids Grow Up
At 7 p.m. at AFI Silver Theater 2; also on Thursday, June 24, at 2:30 p.m. at AFI Silver Theater 1.
At 7:30 p.m. at AFI Silver Theater 1; also on Wednesday, June 23, at 2:30 p.m. at AFI Silver Theater 2.
At 9:15 p.m. at AFI Silver Theater 3; also on Thursday, June 24, at 11:30 a.m. at AFI Silver Theater 2.
Sons of Perdition
At 10 p.m. at AFI Silver Theater 1; also on Saturday, June 26, at 9:30 p.m. at AFI Silver Theater 2.