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TO OCT. 30
In 1922, F.W. Murnau made the first vampire flick, Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 17), an unauthorized adaptation of Dracula. Its haunting vision still lingers, and it might have upstaged the career of a lesser director. But Murnau went on to make several films that are even more striking, notably 1924’s The Last Laugh (at 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 16), which tells its story of a hotel doorman’s fall and rise purely with fluid images, and 1927’s Sunrise (at 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 2, and at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 3), a Hollywood-made tale of love and betrayal that Cahiers du Cinema once called the greatest film ever made. Sunrise has recently been restored, creating the occasion for this National Gallery retrospective. It presents all 12 of the films that survive from the 21 Murnau made during his brief career. The director died in a car crash in 1931, a week before the premiere of his final film, Tabu–A Story of the South Seas (at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 2), a South Pacific romance co-scripted by Nanook of the North director Robert Flaherty. Also included are the director’s ravishing version of Goethe’s Faust (at 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 16) and a precursor to Nosferatu, The Haunted Castle (at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 30). Two of the lesser-known films, The Grand Duke’s Finances and Burning Soil (at 6 and 7:30 p.m., respectively, Friday, Oct. 15) will be shown at the GoetheForum. The series runs to Saturday, Oct. 30, at the National Gallery of Art’s East Building Auditorium, 4th Street and Constitution Avenue NW, free, (202) 842-6799, and at the Goethe-Institut’s GoetheForum, 812 7th St. NW, $5, (202) 289-1200. (Mark Jenkins)