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TO FEB. 20
The three remaining films in this series, all recently rehabbed at Bologna’s Cineteca, are notable foremost for their sociological or political content. Mario Camerini’s 1928 Kif Tebbi (at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 12) is the tale of an Arab aristocrat who’s arrested for his European sympathies, then saved by Italian troops. In addition to offering exotic vistas, the silent film is a now-quaint paean to Italian colonial fascism. A few years after Mussolini’s downfall, Hollywood director William Dieterle traveled to an Italian island (the very one where Roberto Rossellini was then shooting Stromboli) for a neorealist respite. The resulting Vulcano (at 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 13) is basically a potboiler: Anna Magnani plays a fallen woman exiled to her native island, where she tries to protect her sister from a predatory man while dealing with such complications as sunken treasure and, of course, the alluded-to eruption. Aside from Magnani’s scenes, the most interesting parts of the movie are the near-documentary sequences of daily life, including religious festivals and collective tuna fishing. Even more documentary-driven is Lionel Rogosin’s Come Back Africa, (pictured; at 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 20), which was shot in 1959 in South Africa, partially with hidden cameras. Again, the story is a simple melodrama: In the face of white racist oppression, a man struggles to get and keep jobs in Johannesburg. But his story is punctuated with memorable sequences of black South Africa at work and play, set to extraordinary pre-mbaqanga music. The series runs to Sunday, Feb. 20 (see Showtimes for a weekly schedule), at the National Gallery of Art’s East Building Auditorium, 4th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. Free. (202) 842-6799. (Mark Jenkins)