23

SUNDAY

Shortly after the release of Jean Renoir’s Nana, The Jazz Singer abruptly ended the silent era, leaving Nana to represent the pinnacle of Europe’s silent ambitions. Grandiose sets, some of the time’s finest talent, and the rights to Emile Zola’s novel made Renoir’s film remarkably costly. But Nana—the Waterworld of its time—was a terrible flop. Catherine Hessling, Renoir’s wife, played the title role without much nuance. Werner Krauss and Jean Angelo were more fluid as her wealthy suitors, but the grand scale of the production is the film’s most captivating feature. Renoir didn’t get another budget of Nana’s size for years, and the film was buried under his later triumphs, but Cineteca del Comune di Bologna’s restoration of the nitrate original may prompt a reassessment. The exquisite new print screens at 5 p.m. at the National Gallery of Art’s East Building Auditorium, 4th and Constitution Avenue NW. Free. (202) 842-6799. (Mike DeBonis)