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After their silly stories have lost their allure, what most often lingers from sci-fi epics is their look: a tantalizing view of a future that never quite arrived. Made in 1924, Marcel L’Herbier’s L’Inhumaine presents a world that’s gone extravagantly Cubist, as rendered by painter Fernand Leger, architect Robert Mallet-Stevens, choreographer Jean Borlin, and designers Pierre Chareau, Paul Poiret, Claude Autant-Lara, and Alberto Cavalcanti—the last two also aspiring directors—and keyed to a now-lost Darius Milhaud score. The plot involves an “inhuman” soprano (played by American financial backer Georgette Leblanc), intimations of such dazzling new technologies as television, and a laboratory where the dead can be resurrected. The real action, however, is not in the foreground but among the backdrops, which L’Herbier described as “a summary of all that was avant-garde in France.” Silent Orchestra will accompany the film with a recently composed score at 4 p.m. at the National Gallery of Art’s East Building Auditorium, 4th and Constitution Avenue NW. Free. (202) 842-6799. (Mark Jenkins)