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Although Gennady Poloka’s 1966 debut, Republic of Shkid, was a major box-office hit in the Soviet Union, the Russian director’s career did not flourish afterward; censors put his second film, Intervention, on the shelf for 20 years, and he was later banned from filmmaking for longer than a decade. And unlike some directors who struggled against the strictures of Socialist Realism, Poloka didn’t develop a cult following on this side of the Iron Curtain. His films are so rarely seen in the West that not one is listed in the latest Time Out Film Guide. But in 1998, Poloka’s latest effort, The Return of the Battleship, arrived at the American Film Institute, proclaiming the director’s audacity with its playful re-creation of the classic Odessa Steps sequence from Eisenstein’s Potemkin. Now this retrospective fills in some of the blanks, from Republic of Shkid’s complex account of an orphanage revolt (at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 18, and 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 19) and Intervention’s rich portrait of wide-open ’20s Odessa (at 8:45 p.m. Friday, Feb. 18, and 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 19) to The Return of the Battleship’s study of the struggle between art and ideology, also set in ’20s Odessa (at 8:15 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 19, and 1 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 20). Poloka will introduce some of the screenings of these and the two other features in the series, One of Us (at 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 19, and 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 20) and Was There Any Karotin? (at 6:15 and 8:45 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 20) at the American Film Institute’s National Film Theater, in the Kennedy Center’s Hall of States. $6.50. (202) 785-4600. (Mark Jenkins)