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JULY 16-24

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Although best known for big-budget, years-in-the-making epics like Eyes Wide Shut, which opens the day this series begins, Stanley Kubrick (pictured with Kirk Douglas on the set of Spartacus) started on a smaller scale. In tribute to the director, who died in March, AFI is spotlighting these earlier efforts—both because they’re worthwhile and because Kubrick’s later work has been temporarily withdrawn from cinematic circulation. Three of the films are not exactly obscure: Dr. Strangelove (at 6:30 p.m. Friday, July 16, 2 p.m. Saturday, July 17, and 9:30 p.m. Sunday, July 18), the anti-nuclear farce that blew one of the first holes in the West’s Cold War consensus; Spartacus (at 8:15 p.m. Friday, July 16, and 1 p.m. Sunday, July 18), the three-hour slave-revolt drama that was Kubrick’s first epic (but an atypical one, since he was hired to replace Anthony Mann at the last minute); and Paths of Glory (at 3:45 & 8:45 p.m. Saturday, July 17, and 7:45 p.m. Sunday, July 18), an anti-war drama whose treatment of France’s World War I command got it banned Over There. Also featured are two earlier efforts, Killer’s Kiss (at 5:30 & 6:45 p.m. Saturday, July 24), a moody gangland picture, and The Killing (at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, July 17, and 6:15 p.m. Sunday, July 18), a heist-goes-wrong movie that was one of the sources for Reservoir Dogs. Also screening is Strangers Kiss (at 7 p.m. Saturday, July 17, and 4:30 p.m. Sunday, July 18), a 1984 thriller that imagines itself the backstory of Killer’s Kiss. At the Kennedy Center’s American Film Institute National Film Theater. $6.50. (202) 785-4600. (Mark Jenkins)