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Euro pix skip L.A. for D.C.

WASHINGTON — Los Angeles’ loss will be Washington’s gain when the AFI-sponsored European Union Film Showcase opens here on Nov. 1 with 23 foreign films, including more than a dozen U.S. premieres.

Last year the showcase was included as a sidebar at the American Film Institute’s Los Angeles Intl. Film Festival, which premiered several films just a week before they unspooled at the AFI’s Kennedy Center theater. But this time around there will be no Los Angeles stop for the European Union showcase, leaving the beltway branch of the AFI will sole bragging rights.

Opening night will feature Italy’s “Marcello Mastroianni: I Remember,” directed by his longtime companion, Anna Maria Tato. The documentary has already been well-recieved by audiences at the Cannes, Toronto and New York film fests.

Among the American premieres are Austrian helmer Michael Haneke’s “Funny Games” and another Haneke film, “The Castle.” The AFI has Greece to thank for the “The Cow’s Orgasm,” helmed by Oga Malea. Pic was actually one of the biggest hits in Greece’s domestic box office this year.

There will still be a couple of films which, coincidently, will have slots both in Washington and L.A.; those films include the Dutch “Character” and the Swedish “Christmas Orotorio.”

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