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TO AUG. 25
The first group of Soviet-bloc filmmakers to air issues that Moscow wanted to keep bottled up, the Polish School produced such influential directors as Andrzej Wajda and Wojciech Has. Largely forgotten is their colleague Andrzej Munk, who died at 39 in a 1961 car crash after completing only three features. This retrospective opens with Men of the Blue Cross (at 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 17), a 1955 documentary about Polish mountaineers who in 1945 ferried wounded partisans through German lines to safety, and includes Munk’s three completed features: 1956’s Man on the Tracks (screening with Men of the Blue Cross), an account of a railway accident whose paranoia and ambiguity are more film noir than socialist realism; 1958’s Eroica (at 4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 18), which uses the structure of Beethoven’s Third Symphony to link two ironic tales of heroism, one set in the Warsaw Ghetto, the other in a German POW camp; and 1960’s Bad Luck (at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 24), in which a simple man who just wants to conform is continually undermined by shifts in political fashion. The series ends with Passenger (pictured, at 4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 25), the film Munk was making at the time of his death. The story of a concentration-camp survivor on an ocean cruise who recognizes a fellow passenger as a camp guard, the film was completed by Munk’s friends, using still photos the director had shot of unfinished scenes. The series screens to Sunday, Aug. 25, at the National Gallery of Art’s East Building Auditorium, 4th and Constitution Avenue NW. Free. (202) 842-6799. (Mark Jenkins)