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All films must have a beginning, a middle, and an end, but not necessarily in that order. Jean-Luc Godard’s famed dictum doesn’t work quite so well with seminars, however, so it’s probably best to begin at the beginning of critic and interviewer Pat Dowell’s all-day symposium on French New Wave Cinema, the late-’50s cinematic uprising that became the prototype for all indie-film movements that followed. The National Public Radio contributor will first discuss Cahiers du Cinema, the journal that printed the writings of such cinephiles as Godard and François Truffaut, and then spotlight the work of those two critics-turned-directors, close friends who came to embody the split between the new generation of French filmmakers’ commercial and experimental impulses. Finally, she’ll discuss the significance of the nouvelle vague today, years after everyone from Talking Heads to Wong Kar-wai has been labeled “New Wave.” The seminar runs from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Smithsonian Institution’s Ripley Center’s Lecture Hall, 1100 Jefferson Drive SW. $96. (202) 357-3030. (Mark Jenkins)