At the AFI Silver Theatre in Silver Spring (2 blocks from Metro):
Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (Pedro Almodovar) - a film from Spain, but extremely influential in recent American independent cinema, and worth seeing for the cotrast between European and American cinema. Other Almodovar films coming to AFI soon in a retrospective: All About My Mother, Talk to Her, Live Flesh, Bad Education, and Law of Desire, which remains unavailable on DVD in the US and is one of the most important of all gay films. See at least Almodovar film if you can; they're unlike anything else.
At Landmark E St:
This Film Is Not Yet Rated - Kirby Dick's documentary on the MPAA rating system, very directly relevant to this course.
At Shirlington: Quinceanera (Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland) - "Wash West," as he used to be known, started out as a gay porn director, and is probably the only example of a director successfully transitioning from porn to mainstream film (by way of "The Fluffer," a fairly good independent film set in the porn industry). Quinceanera, a film about Latino/Anglo/straight/gay tensions in an LA neighborhood, got raves at Sundance. It's also playing at the the Dupont, but nobody should ever have to try to watch a film there.
Hollywoodland and The Black Dahlia, both playing at area theaters to lukewarm reviews, are good examples of contemporary directors imitating the style of film noir to tell a story of the dark side of the American dream in southern California. A consistent theme that's of some interest in the depiction of sexuality in American cinema is the way Hollywood keeps returning to depictions of the corruption of Hollywood. In other words, the Republican election strategy of emphasizing that Hollywood is estranged from the American mainstream may itself be an ideological theme manufactured in Hollywood.