A SENSE OF WONDER (USA, 2008, 54 min.)

Based on the life and writings of environmentalist Rachel Carson, this film tells the story of a woman’s love for the natural world and her fight to defend it. Rachel Carson was thrust into controversy with the 1962 publication of her book, Silent Spring, which alerted the world to the dangers of chemical pesticides and launched the modern environmental movement. In this film acclaimed actress Kaiulani Lee portrays Miss Carson during the last year of her life. Shot on location in Carson’s cabin on the Maine coast, the first scene takes place as she is preparing to leave her summer home. Fighting cancer, she fears this may well be her last visit to her beloved Maine. The second scene takes place two months later in her winter home outside of Washington, D.C. where her life is embroiled in the furor over her book, Silent Spring. Miss Carson is simultaneously battling the chemical industry, the government, the press and her continuing illness to get her message to Congress and the American people. Recalling the arduous but triumphant process that resulted in Silent Spring, she recounts with humor and some anger the attacks on her by the chemical industry and the film concludes with a moving and inspiring recitation by Miss Carson that summarizes her environmental worldview. This film is based on Kaiulani Lee’s critically acclaimed one-woman play of the same name, written with the help and guidance of many of Miss Carson’s friends and colleagues. Directed by Christopher Monger and produced by Karen Montgomery. Director of Photography: Haskell Wexler.

Introduced by Rebecca Kasemeyer, Director of Education, National Portrait Gallery. Opening remarks by Senator Tom Udall. Discussion with actress Kaiulani Lee follows screening.

A bust of Rachel Carson will be on view at the National Portrait Gallery throughout the Festival. Photo credit: National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

Ticket/Reservation Info:

FREE, no reservations needed.

National Portrait Gallery, Nan Tucker McEvoy Auditorium

Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture

Eighth & F Sts., NW

(METRO: Gallery Place/Chinatown)

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Environmental Film Festival in the Nation's Capital