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Featured Film Pick: “David Lean Restored”, Dec. 19-28 at the National Gallery of Art
In his later and best-remembered works like Lawrence of Arabia, British director David Lean firmly established the clichés of Oscar bombast—exotic locations, grueling three-hour run-times, and subtly insinuated sexual deviance. But in his earlier films Lean was at the service of queen and countrymen, firmly solidifying many of the British cultural stereotypes that we Americans still enjoy today. The National Gallery of Art will show restored versions of eight of these films, and the director’s collaborations with Noel Coward alone are a survey of mid-century Englishness. The World War I naval drama In Which We Serve (1942) revels in stiff-upper-lip military romanticism. The comedy Blithe Spirit (1945) serves up the requisite droll English humor. Brief Encounter (1946)—the tale of a middle-class English housewife’s unconsummated affair with a married physician—is positively brimming with cloistered emotions, unfulfilled passion, and guilt. You’d need a plateful of Marmite on toast and a cupboard full of Balearic techno 12-inches to get more British than that. Lean’s subsequent Dickens adaptations—Great Expectations (1946) and Oliver Twist (1948)—begin to introduce the grandiose settings and epic tendencies that the director would use to great effect later on, but they too make the British Isles’ industrial grayness and bad food storyline linchpins. Some of those stereotypes are up for revision, but until some brave U.K. auteur is willing to tackle his country’s inexplicable devotion to Manic Street Preachers, Lean’s work will continue to endure. “David Lean Restored” runs through Sunday, Dec. 28, at the National Gallery of Art, East Building Auditorium, Constitution Ave. between 3rd and 7th Sts. NW. Free. (202) 727-4215. —Aaron Leitko
Fall Arts Film Calendar
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Drift. To Sep. 19. Kennedy Centery, Millennium Stage.
Mingo Saldivar performs Conjunto. Kennedy Centery, Millennium Stage.
Dance DC-Pan American Symphony Orchestra Smithsonian American Art Museum.
Dance and Music Stars of Azerbaijan Presented by the U.S. Azeris Network. Kennedy Centery.
The Suzanne Farrell Ballet To Oct. 12. Kennedy Center.
Bangarra Dance Theatre To Oct. 17. Kennedy Center.
Savion Glover performs Bare Soundz. Washington Performing Arts Society.
Hispanic Dance Festival Washington Performing Arts Society.
She Wei Dance Arts To Oct. 30. Kennedy Center.
Ballet Flamenco with José Porcel, George Mason University, Center for the Arts.
Liz Lerman Dance Exchange Germantown Cultural Arts Center, Blackrock Center for the Arts.
“Moving Stories, Dancing Myths,”
The Ramayana epic told through the movements of the Devi Dance Theater. Freer and Sackler Gallery.
Hubbard Street Dance Chicago performs a program of dance. George Mason University, Center for the Arts.
“The Blossoms Rained, and There Was Light,” Stories about the Hindu dieties told through the dances of the Devi Dance Theater. Freer and Sackler Gallery.
Hyphen. Smithsonian American Art Museum.
Casa Patas Three nights of Flamenco dancing. To Nov. 23. GALA Theatre.
San Francisco Ballet To Nov. 30. Kennedy Center.
Flamenco en Familia GALA Theatre.
Edwin Aparicio and Company To Dec. 7. GALA Theatre.
Marth Graham Dance Company To Dec. 10. Kennedy Center.
The Nutcracker. To Dec. 14. Kennedy Center
Merce Cunningham Dance Company To Dec. 13. Kennedy Center.