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DEC. 15-31

If the Soviet cinema of the ’60s never shared the revolutionary reputation of its counterparts in places like France, Britain, and Japan, that might be because a lot of the more audacious films were suppressed at the time. Take, for example, Brief Encounters MD-ULØ, which opens the National Gallery’s Soviet Sixties retrospective (at 2 p.m. Friday, Dec. 15, and Saturday, Dec. 16). Kira Muratova’s masterly tale of a love triangle was made in 1968 but not seen for two decades, perhaps because it starred protest-song singer Vladimir Vysotsky. It’s being shown with another long-shelved film, Goodbye, Boys, Mikhail Kalik’s naturalistic account of three friends’ final summer together before joining the army. Some of the other movies were made by directors who later became internationally known: The series features Andrei Tarkovsky’s first feature, Ivan’s Childhood (at 2 and 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 24, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 31), a World War II story that’s not representative of the filmmaker’s metaphysical later style, and two movies by Andrei Konchalovsky, The First Teacher and Asya’s Happiness (pictured, at 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 23), both of which are set in outlying areas of the Soviet Union largely untouched by ideology—although that didn’t stop the latter from being banned for 20 years. The Letter Never Sent (at 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17), Mikhail Kalatozov’s 1959 film about the unrequited love of a geologist on a mission in remote Yakutia, is also included. The festival runs at the National Gallery of Art’s East Building Auditorium, 4th and Constitution Avenue NW; see Showtimes for details. (Mark Jenkins)