Capital Projections: The rapper and the dames edition

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Capital Projections is The DC Line’s selective and subjective guide to some of the most interesting arthouse and repertory screenings in the coming week.


MATANGI / MAYA / M.I.A.

(Abramorama)

Maya Arulpragasam, aka rapper M.I.A., didn’t take the usual road to international stardom. Her childhood in Sri Lanka was marred by civil war; her father Arular (she named her first album after him) was the founder of a Tamil resistance movement. In the ‘90s she developed punk sensibilities during her time at a British art school. She hoped to become a movie director (she directed an Elastica music video), and some of the footage she created at the time has been repurposed to great effect in this intimate documentary. Arulpragasam’s art school chum and longtime friend Stephen Loveridge, who trained a camera on his friend for years, uses a non-linear timeline that’s as dynamic and unflinching as its charismatic subject.

Watch the trailer.

Opens Friday at the AFI Silver.


(IFC)

TEA WITH THE DAMES

Director Roger Michell (Notting Hill, Le Week-end) calls this loving observation of old friends a “rockumentary … more Spice Girls than Sibelius.” Yet his spicy subjects are beloved veterans of the English stage and screen: Dame Judi Dench, Dame Maggie Smith, Dame Joan Plowright and Dame Eileen Atkins. Originally called Nothing Like a Dame, this breezy documentary combines archival footage and photos with candid conversation among women who have been friends for five decades, and it’s a better showcase for this generation of actors than The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (which stars two of them).

Watch the trailer.

Opens Friday at E Street Landmark Cinema.


(Zipporah Films)

HOSPITAL

For over 50 years, director Frederick Wiseman has created immersive, nonfiction portraits of such varied institutions as a mental asylum (Titicut Follies), a legendary Paris nightclub (Crazy Horse), and the New York Public Library (Ex Libris). In this documentary, originally made for television in 1970, he created an immersive look at New York City’s Metropolitan Hospital that won an Emmy for its stark observation of a struggling public service. The Library of Congress (disclaimer: I work there, but was not involved with this program) will screen a 35mm print.

Watch the trailer.

Thursday, Oct. 4, at 7 p.m. at the Mary Pickford Theatre, third floor of the Madison Building, Library of Congress. Free. Seating is on a first-come first-serve basis. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.


(CBA)

THE TWO FACES OF A BAMILÉKÉ WOMAN

After studying film in Belgium for seven years, director Rosine Mbakam returns to her home village in Cameroon with her young son to learn about her past. Shown as part of the festival Films Across Borders: Stories of Women, a showcase of works by and about women that spans more than 50 titles at more than a dozen venues across the region.

Watch the trailer.

Saturday, Oct. 6, at 2 p.m. at the National Gallery of Art. Free.


(Film Foundation)

THE MUMMY

As part of the series Films From the Arab World, the Freer Gallery of Art will screen a new digital restoration of this mesmerizing Egyptian drama. Also known as The Night of Counting the Years, this 1969 release was the only feature by director Shadi Abdel Salam, who primarily worked as a costume designer on period films. Salam’s movie incorporates far more visual poetry than the typical Hollywood mummy movie, with a plot that follows Wannis, a young man who must decide whether he should protect ancient tombs from the ancient antiquities trade.

Watch a clip.

Friday, Oct. 5, at 7 p.m. at the Freer Gallery of Art. Free.


(Night Flight)

ROCK & RULE

This animated musical fantasy from 1983 tells the story of an evil rock star who kidnaps a female punk singer in order to summon a demon. Will her band save the day? Rock & Rule features music by Lou Reed (the forgotten “My Name Is Mok”) as well as songs by Debbie Harry, Iggy Pop, Cheap Trick, and Earth, Wind & Fire. With that much ‘80s star power on its soundtrack (which was unfortunately never released as an album), the movie should be better known. But perhaps the wave of nostalgia for that neon-tinged era will give this little-appreciated curio a second life.

Watch the trailer.

Monday, Oct. 8, at 8 p.m. at Smoke and Barrel.

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