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TO JAN. 2, 2005
At least a half-dozen filmmakers vie for the title of cinema’s father, but Jean-Luc Godard has no rivals for the role of eccentric uncle. The most influential of second-generation movie directors, Godard combines an enthusiasm for Hollywood B-movies with a classical education, earnest politics with playful humor, and a deconstructionist’s sensibility with a painter’s eye. This retrospective includes many of Godard’s classic films from the ’60s, as well as more essayistic recent work, including the local premiere of his latest feature: Our Music (at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4), a consideration of art and war shot mostly in Sarajevo. This weekend alone offers three masterpieces: Contempt (pictured; at 3 p.m. Friday, Nov. 26), an examination of marriage, movie-making, and widescreen imagery; Masculin Féminin (at 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17), which introduces “the children of Marx and Coca-Cola” and Godard’s anti– Vietnam War politics; and Two or Three Things I Know About Her (at 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 28), a ravishing meditation in which “her” is Paris. Two more of Godard’s still-electrifying ’60s films screen at La Maison Française: Pierrot le Fou (at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 8) and Vivre sa Vie (at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 9). Such later efforts as Hail, Mary (at 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 19), Prénom Carmen (at 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 2, 2005), and the shorts of “Videothéque Godard I” (at 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 11) are less edgy, but are witty, gorgeous, and provocative. The series runs through Sunday, Jan. 2, 2005, at the National Gallery of Art’s East Building Auditorium, 4th Street and Constitution Ave. NW, free, (202) 842-6799, and at La Maison Française, 4101 Reservoir Road NW, $5, (202) 944-6090 (see Showtimes for a full schedule). (Mark Jenkins)