JUNE 5– 26

The Films of Guru Dutt

There’s nothing especially noir about the first in this series of five 1955– 1962 films featuring actor, producer, and sometime director Guru Dutt. Mr. and Mrs. 55 (at 2 p.m. Sunday, June 5) is a battle-of-the-sexes romp that’s similar in tone, if not social context, to contemporary American screwball comedies. Divorce has just been introduced to India when beautiful heiress Anita learns that she must marry immediately or lose her father’s fortune. Her man-hating aunt takes control: She’ll find a respectable but impoverished stranger for Anita to marry and then arrange for a quickie divorce. But the man she picks—unemployed cartoonist Pritam, played by Dutt—has already met Anita and is in love with her. (One un–Tracy/Hepburn touch: lots of musical numbers, neatly integrated into the everyday locations.) In Eternal Thirst (pictured; at 7 p.m. Friday, June 17), Dutt is an aspiring poet whose disapproving family commits him to an asylum but who becomes known for his verse anyway, thanks to a prostitute who admires his work. Dutt stars in—but didn’t direct—Full Moon (at 2 p.m. Sunday, June 19), a love-triangle tale set in the primarily Muslim northern city of Lucknow. An account of an unraveling life, Paper Flowers (at 7 p.m. Friday, June 24) has been deemed both semiautobiographical and Dutt’s masterpiece. Set in late-19th-century Calcutta, Abrar Alvi’s King, Queen, and Knave (at 2 p.m. Sunday, June 26) stars Dutt as a dissolute aristocrat whose wife rebels. The series runs from Sunday, June 5, through Sunday, June 26, at the Freer Gallery of Art’s Meyer Auditorium, 12th Street and Jefferson Dr. SW. Free. (202) 357-3200. (Mark Jenkins)