- - Thursday, September 13, 2012

The D.C. suburbs are in the midst of a cinematic boom — and the latest entrant on the scene has an impressive pedigree.

The Angelika Film Center & Cafe opens Sept. 21 in Fairfax County; it’s the newest outpost of the famed Angelika art house in New York City’s SoHo district, and it’s bringing the chain’s unique blend of surprising programming, delicious snacks and ambience to Virginia audiences.

The Angelika joins Bethesda’s Landmark, Silver Spring’s AFI Silver and the forthcoming ArcLight Cinema in Bethesda as the most recent treat for suburban cinephiles.

“Like the Angelika in NYC and our two Angelikas in Texas, the Angelika at Mosaic will play provocative and engaging film programming in a cutting edge theatrical environment,” said Ellen Cotter, chief operating officer of the U.S. cinema division of Reading International Inc. and head of programming for the cinema.

The region’s burgeoning reputation as a center for intrepid artistic exploration made the D.C. area a prime target for the Angelika brand. “We were very impressed with the depth of the film community in the D.C. area, and it is one of the reasons we chose to build in Fairfax, Va. at Mosaic,” Ms. Cotter said. “We are eager to partner with the local film community as we have done in our other theaters.”

The front entrance of the Angelika Film Center and Cafe in Fairfax, Va., which opens Sept. 21. (Rod Lamkey Jr./The Washington Times)
The front entrance of the Angelika Film Center and Cafe in Fairfax, ... more >

Before the public opening next week, the Angelika already will have hosted screenings for the DC Shorts festival and the Northern Virginia International Film Festival.

The eight-screen venue is not your average multiplex; in addition to major releases, the theater also will screen some surprises.

The slate upon opening will feature Paul Thomas Anderson’s highly anticipated “The Master,” a one-week engagement of Jean Renoir’s “Grand Illusion” (1937) and the dizzying feast for the eyes “Samsara.”

Stomachs will have plenty to feast on as well.

Lee Anne Wong, one of the contestants on the first season of Bravo’s “Top Chef,” has partnered with the Angelika to design the menus for the theater’s cafe, lounge and concession stand. Popcorn’s still on the menu, but it’s going to have some classy company.

“Our goal is to provide moviegoers with healthy and fresh gourmet food options designed to pair with our craft beer and select wine list, giving new meaning to the phrase ‘dinner and a movie,’” Ms. Wong said.

“Signature dishes like the Asian lemon Caesar salad, miso-glazed short ribs, baked edamame falafel panini with harissa lime yogurt, and our curry-rosemary spiced nuts incorporate flavors from around the world, created to excite the palate and enhance the film-viewing experience.”

If that all sounds a bit on the healthy side to you, don’t worry. You still can indulge.

“There’s even what I like to think of as the moviegoer’s fantasy dish, called ‘The Junk’ (and really just all my favorite snacks rolled into one) — potato chips, pretzels, popcorn, and Rice Krispies treats topped with warm, dark chocolate ganache and salted peanut-butter caramel,” Ms. Wong said.

“You can even get bacon bits on top if you’re feeling adventurous.”

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