MAY 4-25

Even if Casino was a little dull, Martin Scorsese is the most vital mainstream filmmaker in the U.S. today. The AFI Life Achievement Award was an inevitability from the epochal release of 1973’s Mean Streets (May 15 at 8:45 p.m., May 16 at 6:30 p.m., May 17 at 4:30 p.m.), or at least 1980’s sumptuously bleak Raging Bull (May 23 & 24 at 8:30 p.m., May 25 at 4 p.m.). In addition to those films, this retrospective includes the richest and most humane of his gangster epics, GoodFellas (pictured, May 4 at 5:45 p.m., May 7 at 8:30 p.m.), as well as such early genre efforts as Who’s That Knocking at My Door? (May 7 at 5:10 p.m., May 9 at 6:30 p.m.) and Italianamerican (billed with American Boy, May 10 at 4:15 p.m., May 11 at 6:30 p.m.). As his deft soundtracks indicate, Scorsese’s not just interested in gangsters: After developing his intricate cutting style working as one of the editors of Woodstock, the director made both a documentary about the Band’s farewell show, The Last Waltz (May 8 at 9 p.m., May 9 at 8:30 p.m., May 10 at 2 p.m.), and a dark musical, New York, New York (May 14 at 8:30 p.m., May 18 at 5:15 p.m.). At the Kennedy Center’s American Film Institute Theater. $6.50. (202) 828-4090. (Mark Jenkins)