Get to know D.C. with our daily newsletter
We dive deep on the day’s biggest story and share links to everything you need to know.
Rialto Pictures specializes in old movies, but not old-seeming movies. In its first 10 years, the New York–based company has reissued the work of such prescient and influential filmmakers as Jean-Pierre Melville and Jean-Luc Godard, along with many genre pieces that are far more vivid than their contemporary counterparts. Typically, a Rialto release is restored to sparkling clarity—most are in black and white—and outfitted with new subtitles that better capture the dialogue’s pungency. The first three offerings in this 11-film series reveal Rialto’s range. Adapted from a Graham Greene spy tale, The Third Man treats postwar Vienna as a shadowy fun house, rendering a ride on a Ferris wheel as ominous as a chase through the sewers. Carol Reed directed, in a style that recalls 1920s German Expressionist cinema, but star Orson Welles seized control of his scenes, writing himself some classic noir lines. Just as dark, but to a rather different purpose, Mouchette is the story of a provincial 14-year-old who can be either benevolent or sulky. Director Robert Bresson was an austere Catholic mystic, yet Mouchette can be seen as a Christlike figure or simply as an everyday girl in an unusually crushing environment. A 2007 revival that deserved more attention, Mafioso is a parable of innocence in a place it cannot prevail: Sicily. Alberto Lattuada’s film is a satire, but one that suddenly lurches into existential drama. The series runs to Thursday, Jan. 10, 2008, at the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center, 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. $9.75. (301) 495-6700; see Showtimes for this week’s films; see afi.com/silver/new/ for a complete schedule.