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TO JULY 10
There’s some unsettling stuff in recent Mexican films, such as the brutal dogfights of Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Amores Perros (at 4 p.m. Sunday, June 27), or the grandfatherly vampire who’s so thirsty for blood he licks it off the floor in Guillermo del Toro’s Cronos (at 4 p.m. Saturday, June 26). But what about El Puño de Hierro (at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, April 24), which has barely started before a drug lord pumps morphine into a man’s arm? That film dates from 1927, a few generations before Iñárritu and del Toro. Mexican cinema has a long history of investigating subjects too hot for Hollywood, including not only sex, drugs, and violence, but also politics. Subversive Spaniard Luis Buñuel made his home for many years in Mexico, where he directed such films as Los Olvidados (pictured; at 3:30 p.m. Friday, May 14, and at 3 p.m. Saturday, May 15), an ode to Mexico City’s outcasts, and Nazarin (at 3 p.m. Friday, June 11, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, June 13), about a priest attempting to live a true Christian life. This retrospective’s political fare includes Reed: Insurgent Mexico (at 3 p.m. Friday, May 28, and at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, May 30), an account of American writer John Reed’s time with Pancho Villa, and Canoa (at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, June 5), a docudrama about five students attacked by an angry mob. There are also few gentler films, such as Danzón (at 2 and 4 p.m. Saturday, June 12), in which a woman finds herself after losing her dance partner, and Like Water for Chocolate (at 2:30 p.m. Friday, June 18, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, June 20), the art-house hit that fuses culinary and erotic impulses. The series runs through Saturday, July 10 (see Showtimes for a full schedule), in the National Gallery of Art’s East Building Auditorium, 4th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. Free. (202) 842-6799. (Mark Jenkins)