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MARCH 1-16

Something is always lost in the films of Russian director Alexander Sokurov (Evening Sacrifice is pictured), whether it’s an individual, a feeling, or an era. A follower of director Andrei Tarkovsky, Sokurov survived censorship and the collapse of the Soviet film apparatus, emerging little changed. His work remains lyrical, mystical, and backward-gazing. This series includes four films that are explicitly called elegies and nine more that partake of the same meditative spirit. Tarkovsky’s exile was the inspiration for 1986-1988’s Moscow Elegy (at 3 p.m. Saturday, March 1, and 4 p.m. Sunday, March 2), which imagines the memories the filmmaker left behind in his homeland; it’s shown with Maria, a requiem for a model collective farmer. 1989’s Petersburg Elegy (at 4 p.m. Sunday, March 9) is about the life of a Russian singer and actor who returns after many years in Italy, as well as life in ’80s Leningrad; it’s shown with Dmitri Shostakovich: Viola Sonata, a long-suppressed 1981-1986 experimental documentary co-directed by Semen Aranovich. One of several Sokurov films set in Japan, 1996’s Oriental Elegy (at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, March 15) searches for the afterlife on a mist-draped island; it’s shown with A Humble Life, which contemplates an old woman living in the hills near Nara. 2001’s Elegy of a Voyage (at 2:30 p.m. Friday, March 14, and at 5 p.m. Sunday, March 16) follows a shadowy figure through a deserted museum; it’s shown with its logical companion piece, Russian Ark, Sokurov’s latest (and most widely seen) film. The series runs to Sunday, March 16, at the National Gallery of Art’s East Building Auditorium, 4th and Constitution Avenue NW. Free. (202) 842-6799. (Mark Jenkins)