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to aug. 27
The first great thriller flick was the Lumière brothers’ 1895 Arrival of a Train at a Station, which drove inexperienced viewers of cinematic illusion to rush from the theater in fear of being crushed under steel wheels. Offering drama, movement, and compact locations, trains remained a great movie device even after filmgoers became more sophisticated. The next two programs in this series of newly restored classics both have locomotive energy: “Vintage Views: British Rail” (at 2 p.m. Saturday, July 29) is a collection of rail-linked shorts, including Elizabethan Express, a trip from London to Edinburgh compressed into 20 minutes; it’s followed by director Anthony Asquith’s Underground (pictured; at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, July 30), an expressionistic 1928 silent film that recounts a love triangle on and around London’s subway system. (This screening marks the world premiere of a new score by British composer Steve Smith, which he will perform live.) Also included is Jean Renoir’s Boudu Saved From Drowning (at 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 12), the 1932 prototype of the slacker-houseguest-from-hell genre; A Cottage on Dartmoor (at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 20), Asquith’s last silent film, made in 1929, in which an escaped convict slips across a foggy bog; On the Bowery (at 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 26), Lionel Rogosin’s 1957 semidocumentary about life along Manhattan’s skid row; and Estonian-born director Dimitri Kirsanoff’s 1934 Rapt (at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 27), a story of religious and ethnic tension in Switzerland, which will be shown with a program of short documentaries depicting rural Switzerland in the 1920s and ’30s. The films show at the National Gallery of Art, East Building Auditorium, 4th St. & Constitution Ave. NW. Free. (202) 737-4215. (Mark Jenkins)