The outdoor movie season in the capital region is upon us, with new kids on the block like the DC Drive In at Union Market to old standards like Screen on the Green at the National Mall looking to lure everyone outside to check out some of the best repertory film catalogs.
But what if it rains or is ridiculously hot? As fun as the outdoor movie venues are, it’s good to know there are some indoor options as well. And while the area’s multiplexes and resurgent indie theaters are there for you, there are also several places that show things for free and provide offbeat fare.
Here’s a quick rundown of what’s playing on screens near you this week (that also happen to be free of charge).
Rites of Summer
The National Gallery of Art’s film program shows movies in one of Washington’s great and virtually unknown screens in its East Building Auditorium. On July 17, as part of its Ballets Russes exhibit, the gallery will show the company’s performance of “The Rite of Spring” at 12:30 p.m.
After a run at last month’s AFI Docs, Joshua Oppenheimer’s “The Act of Killing” is gearing up for a theatrical run later on this month. Oppenheimer’s documentary — about Indonesian death squad leaders who agree to re-enact their killings for the camera, but in the mode of their favorite movies — will screen on July 17 at the Landmark E Street Cinema at 7 p.m. Space is very limited — but if you’re one of the first 30 to respond to firstname.lastname@example.org, you’ll get a look before the film opens on July 26. Oppenheimer will also be on hand after the film for a Q and A session.
The National Archives has all kinds of cool stuff, including artifacts and film stock from the Space Age and is showing footage from the 1970s as part of its Space Days exhibit. At noon in the McGowan Theater, if you’d like a look at a far-out time, with far-out ideas.
‘Advise and Consent’
With all the rancor in the Senate over whether the filibuster rules will be changed, perhaps the best way to end the week is to take in a flick about the chamber in midcentury form. “Advise and Consent,” the 1962 Otto Preminger adaptation of Allen Drury’s novel is a peek into the past, with Henry Fonda, Walter Pidgeon and Franchot Tone engaged in a nomination fight. Couldn’t be more timely.
Roll Call After Dark is about what Washington does when it's not at work.
The District of Columbia is a cultural capital where you can you get your kicks from movies projected on the National Mall, lectures on vermouth or Russian avant-garde art. There's always something to do.
Jason Dick is the Hill Life editor for Roll Call and has also worked at Greenwire, CongressDaily and National Journal Daily during his time in Washington. @jasonjdick