If you’re not familiar with the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center, located on Colesville Rd. and Georgia Ave., three blocks from the Silver Spring Metro Station, then I’m here to enlighten you. If you are, but haven’t taken the time to visit, then shame on you.

Best known for its lineup of indy, arthouse, and foreign films, the center also features themed festivals that run throughout the year. In March, Martin Scorsese was featured and the celebrated filmmaker was in town for the event. To add to the fun, his film The Last Waltz was scheduled to show outdoors in Veterans Park, but sadly it was rained out. I am told that the famous Quarry House was packed that night with fans and crew.

This month, and stretching into August, is the Science in the Cinema series, sponsored by the NIH. Last night I went to see Copenhagen, a BBC/PBS adaptation of Michael Frayn’s play about the 1941 meeting between Neils Bohr and his German protege Werner Heisenberg.

The film depicts the strain between the two former colleagues and their role in applying their skills as theoretical physicists towards building an atomic device. Although Heisenberg was a master mathematician and led the German effort, building such a device was clearly beyond him. Bohr, who was famous in Denmark, and also half Jewish, later escaped to Sweden along with some 8,000 others when the local authorities learned the Germans were planning to send them to the camps. Bohr eventually contributed to the Manhattan Project and the bombs dropped on Japan at the end of the war.

Perhaps more interesting than the films are the speakers that contribute each week during this series. On this night, Dr. Spencer R. Weart, director of the Center for History of Physics at the American Institute of Physics, spoke to the audience after the film, and then opened the floor for questions. One man, a Dane, described how his family was among the Jewish refugees saved by the boats that ferried them across the river into Sweden.

Let’s drop the atomic physicists and bring on forensic pathology.

Next week (Wednesday at 7:00pm) it’s Citizen X, the story of Russia’s infamous serial killer, Andrei Chikatilo. CSI fans might know what a nonsecretor is, which is how the maniac got away with it (52+ murders!) before they finally took it to trial and executed him with a bullet to the back of the head.

To find out the details, it will cost you nothing. These films are free.

Comments are closed.

Terms of use | Privacy Policy | Content: Creative Commons | Site and Design © 2009 | Metroblogging ® and Metblogs ® are registered trademarks of Bode Media, Inc.