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OPENS JAN. 6, 2005

After the death of Franco, Pedro Almodóvar busted out internationally with low-budget films that were colorful, audacious, and frequently tasteless. The director’s audience expanded when he switched from gay male protagonists to women (or rather, “women”); now he’s among only a few European directors whose work is guaranteed an American release. Bad Education, which opens next week, is Almodóvar’s first movie in years without a major female character (although that doesn’t mean no one wears a dress). This retrospective, however, features movies from 1990 through 2002, in which women embody Almodóvar’s concerns: motherhood in Live Flesh (at 7:05 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 27, and 1:05 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 30) and All About My Mother (at 7:05 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 20, and 1:05 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 23); mass-media gossip and public identity in The Flower of My Secret (at 7:05 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 13, and 1:05 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 16), High Heels (at 7:05 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 17, and 1:05 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 20), and Kika (at 7:05 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 3, and 1:05 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 6); and theatricality in all of them. Other Almodóvar themes are abduction and rape; see if you think they’re as much fun as he does in Talk to Her (at 7:05 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 6, and 1:05 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 9) and Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! (pictured; at 7:05 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 10, and 1:05 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 13). The series opens Thursday, Jan. 6, 2005, and runs through Sunday, Feb. 20, 2005 (see Showtimes for a complete schedule), at the American Film Institute’s Silver Theatre and Cultural Center, 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. $8.50. (301) 495-6700. (Mark Jenkins)