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OPENS JAN. 13

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After A History of Violence topped his newspaper’s 2005 film critics’ poll, Village Voice reviewer J. Hoberman noted that, “going back to the late ’70s, [David] Cronenberg has been the best-reviewed director in the paper’s history.” Hard to say why. One possibility: He rewards many film buffs’ paradoxical cravings for both genre and art. But here’s a chance to investigate. This retro really is complete, including the Canadian filmmaker’s experimental early features and all the creepy, cheapie exploitation flicks that made him a commercial contender. Anyone who’s outgrown the body-horror hysteria of those movies can pick up Cronenberg’s career with the body-horror contemplation of 1986’s The Fly and 1988’s Dead Ringers. The latter is among his best, along with 1991’s Naked Lunch (pictured), one of the cleverest filmings ever of an “unfilmable” novel. The more recent stuff tends to disappoint, although you might want to double-check that Voice poll bit about A History of Violence. The series opens Friday, Jan. 13, and runs through Wednesday, Feb. 22, at the American Film Institute’s Silver Theatre and Cultural Center, 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. $8.50. (301) 495-6700. (Mark Jenkins)