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Considered both too French and simply too long—three hours is a typical running time—Jacques Rivette’s films seldom attract commercial distribution in the U.S. Most of the entries in this six-film retrospective have been seen in Washington before, but only one of them, the enchanting Celine and Julie Go Boating (pictured, Nov. 29 at 2:30 p.m.), in commercial theaters. This film is both Rivette’s masterpiece and exemplary of his enduring interests: theater, cinema, Paris, illusion, games, and beautiful young women. The series opens with the 1994 film Up/Down/Fragile, in which the overlapping lives of three young women in contemporary Paris sometimes take the form of a ’50s Hollywood musical (Nov. 2 at 4 p.m.). Also featured are The Band of Four, in which life and theater intersect in the lives of four drama students who share a house in suburban Paris (Nov. 9 at 4 p.m.); the once-controversial 1966 film The Nun, in which a woman discovers corruption both inside and outside the convent (Nov. 16 at 4 p.m.); a six-hour account of Joan of Arc, Joan the Maid (shown in two parts, Nov. 22 at 2 p.m. & Nov. 23 at 4 p.m.); and Love on the Ground, in which life and the rehearsals of a play converge (Nov. 30 at 4 p.m.). At the National Gallery of Art’s East Building Auditorium, 4th & Constitution Ave. NW. FREE. (202) 737-4215. (Mark Jenkins)