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TO JUNE 22
Best known in this country for the 1958 bungled-caper comedy Big Deal on Madonna Street, Mario Monicelli not only made some 40 films, but also helped invent a genre. In collaboration with Stefano Vanzina, the director pioneered the bittersweet commedia all’italiana, which combines traditional farce with the social concerns of neorealism. This National Gallery of Art/American Film Institute collaboration revives Big Deal on Madonna Street (pictured, June 7 at 3 p.m., June 8 at 6 p.m., NGA) and eight other films. Also included are Monicelli’s most somber effort, The Great War, an account of two goldbricking Italian World War I soldiers that shifts effectively from comedy to tragedy (June 8 at 8:15 p.m., AFI; June 22 at 6 p.m., NGA); Dear Michele, in which a free-spirited daughter-in-law disrupts a bourgeois family (June 7 at 2 p.m., June 11 at 6:30 p.m., AFI); A Very Petit Bourgeois, a dark tale of a minor bureaucrat whose son is accidentally killed by terrorists (June 21 at 3 p.m., NGA); and Cops and Robbers, which is generally considered the best of the films Monicelli made with Vanzina (June 14 at 2:30 p.m, NGA). At the National Gallery of Arts’s East Building Auditorium, 4th & Constitution Ave. NW. FREE. (202) 737-4215; and the Kennedy Center’s American Film Institute Theater. $6.50. (202) 828-4090. (Mark Jenkins)