TO DEC. 16

The shorthand versions of the careers of Japan’s big three directors are imperfect but defensible: Kurosawa directed samurai epics, Ozu made quiet domestic dramas, and Mizoguchi did women’s pictures. No such formula, however, can encompass the work of Kon Ichikawa, who has made more than 90 films since 1946. It’s fitting that this 20-some-film National and Freer Galleries retrospective opens with a genre-buster, the dazzling An Actor’s Revenge (pictured, at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 28, National Gallery), which transfigured a familiar Japanese melodrama with boldly stylized Cinemascope compositions and a jazz score. Originally an animator, Ichikawa had his first successes with satires such as Odd Obsession (at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 4, Freer Gallery), in which an older man goes to extremes to sexually satisfy his young wife, and Mr. Pu (at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 18, NG), the tale of an abused math teacher. But his work ranges widely, from the moving anti-war films Fires on the Plain (at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 2, FG) and The Burmese Harp (at 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 3, NG) to a poetic rendering of the 1964 Olympics, Tokyo Olympiad (at 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8, NG). Many of Ichikawa’s films were adapted from novels; among the best-known are Conflagration (at 4:15 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 3, NG), from Yukio Mishima’s Temple of the Golden Pavilion; and cinematic versions of Natsume Soseki’s I Am a Cat (at 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9, NG) and Junichiro Tanizaki’s The Makioka Sisters (at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15, NG). To Sunday, Dec. 16, at the National Gallery of Art’s East Building Auditorium, 4th and Constitution Avenue NW, and the Freer Gallery of Art’s Meyer Auditorium, 12th and Jefferson Drive SW. Free. (202) 357-2700. (Mark Jenkins)

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