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TO JAN. 30
Marxist and Freudian, obscurantist and popularizer, Bertolucci has lived several artistic lives in his 38-year career. This retrospective started last week, so you may have already missed the director’s latest film, Besieged, a hymn to Thandie Newton. If so, you didn’t miss much. The action really begins this weekend with Bertolucci’s first two films, The Grim Reaper (at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 8), a high-style whodunit about the murder of a Roman prostitute, and Before the Revolution (at 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 9), the story of a young man who rejects his comfortable life for radical politics, but then starts backsliding. The revolution gets its due in the five-hour 1900 (at 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 15), which views the first half of the 20th century through the lives of two men—a peasant and an aristocrat. The director’s most controversial film remains Last Tango in Paris (at 5 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 16), an account of a frenzied but anonymous sexual encounter, while his best may be The Conformist (pictured, at 3:15 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 22), in which a gay man finds a place in fascist Italy by becoming an informer. (The print of the latter restores the long-deleted “Dance of the Blind” sequence.) Also included are two of Bertolucci’s sumptuous but less personal later films, The Last Emperor (at 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 29) and The Sheltering Sky (at 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 23), and another of his young-actress rhapsodies, Stealing Beauty (at 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 30), which revolves around the baring of one of Liv Tyler’s breasts. At the National Gallery of Art’s East Building Auditorium, 4th and Constitution Avenue NW. Free. (202) 842-6799. (Mark Jenkins)