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In the pantheon of great filmmakers, certain people—often French—come quickly to mind, but you can upstage anybody name-dropping Cocteau or Godard with a reference to Germaine Dulac. This Parisian suffragette specialized in silent cinema and explored the concept of cinéma pur, relying on symbolism and technical experimentation rather than a traditional storyline. Clocking in at 40 minutes, L’Invitation au Voyage (1927) takes its title from Baudelaire’s poem of the same name, and the slightly shorter La Souriante Madame Beudet (1923) concerns itself with feminism—a salient issue, considering France didn’t grant women the right to vote until 1944, two years after Dulac died. Overall, these films offer a snapshot of cinema in its nascent state, when the absence of sound provided a wealth of opportunities for innovation. Get a leg up on Breathless fans when the films show at 4 p.m. at the National Gallery of Art’s East Building Auditorium, 4th St. & Constitution Ave. NW. Free. (202) 737-4215. (Kim Rinehimer)