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Posted at 11:58 AM ET, 04/15/2009

Three Picks for Filmfest DC

By Jen Chaney

Filmfest DC opens tomorrow, and with more than 70 movies screening in theaters all over the city, deciding what to catch can be a little daunting. So let's simplify, cineastes.

There will be no spoilers from Jen on how "The Tour" ends. (Testament Films)

For starters, Post critics recommended a number of films -- including ones about post-war Bosnia, South Koreans on a bender and the band Wilco. I'll add to that solid list here with three more recommendations.

"Fermat's Room": Anyone who loves digging into a challenging puzzle will get a cerebral charge out of this Spanish thriller, which places four mathematicians in a room and forces them to solve several brain benders. The catch: every time they don't come up an answer within the prescribed time limit, the walls close in, inch by potentially fatal inch. Add a few additional mysteries about exactly how these number whizzes know each other and the result is a film that gets more compelling with every new calculation. (Screening Friday, April 17 at 8:45 p.m. and Sunday, April 19 at 7:30 p.m. at Landmark's E Street.)

"The Necessities of Life": Natar Ungalaaq -- whom moviegoers may remember from "The Fast Runner" -- infuses every pore of this film's protagonist, Tivii, with a palpable sense of loneliness. An Inuit suffering from lung disease, Tivii is yanked away from his remote, comfortable life with his family so he can be treated at a medical facility in Quebec City, where no one speaks his language or understands that the last thing he wants to eat is spaghetti. Eventually, though, he encounters someone who makes that hospital begin to feel like home. This film was Canada's official submission for the Oscars in the best foreign language film category, and it's absorbing and hypnotically paced. Consider this a necessity of Filmfest DC. (Screening Tuesday, April 21 at 6:30 p.m. at the Embassy of Canada and Wednesday, April 22 at 6:30 p.m. at Regal Gallery Place)

"The Tour": Okay, a bit of candor here. The DVD screener of this movie completely crapped out on me after 25 minutes. The disc just froze, then wouldn't play at all in either of my DVD players or my Blu-ray player. Major bummer. But here's why I still feel comfortable recommending this Serbian film: because after those first 25 minutes, I really, really wanted to see what would happen next in this hybrid between war movie and "Waiting for Guffman." The premise here is that a wayward theater troupe decides to take their show on the road to a remote village in Bosnia circa 1993. If that sounds like a bad idea, yeah, it is, and chaos seems poised to ensue. If you do catch this, send me a line and let me know how the rest of it turns out. Oh, and if you're a "Lost" fan, keep your eyes open for Mira Furlan, a k a Danielle Rousseau, who trades in her role as semi-crazy, gun-toting jungle dweller for one here as an acting diva with an attitude problem. (Screening at 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 22 and Saturday, April 25 at Landmark's E Street)

-- Jen

By Jen Chaney  | April 15, 2009; 11:58 AM ET
Categories:  Events, Movies  
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