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DECEMBER 4-JANUARY 2
Though his career stretches back more than 60 years, Portugal’s Manoel de Oliviera is just beginning to build a worldwide reputation. An austere auteur with a strong interest in the relationship between film and theater, he both writes and directs his films, and frequently shoots, edits, and produces them, too. This retrospective begins with a 21-minute “city symphony”- influenced documentary, Hard Work on the River Douro, and the director’s first feature, Aniki-Bóbó, a 1942 portrait of poor children that’s been called “neorealism before neorealism” (Dec. 4, 12:30 p.m.), and ends with 1991’s The Divine Comedy (Jan. 2, 6 p.m.), touted as “nothing less than a fundamental rethinking of film language.” Also included are such films as 1963’s Rite of Spring (Dec. 4, 3 p.m.), which reveals the pre-Christian underpinnings of a peasant Holy Week pageant; Bernilde, or the Virgin Mother (Dec. 5, 6 p.m.), the filming of a play about a young woman who insists her pregnancy is a miracle; The Satin Slipper (pictured; Part 1, Dec. 18, 12:30 p.m., Part 2, Dec. 19, 6 p.m.), de Oliviera’s 410- minute adaptation of Paul Claudel’s play about impossible love during the tumultuous late-15th-century period of Iberian history; and My Case, which presents several variations on José Régio’s one-act play, including one with the soundtrack reversed. At the National Gallery of Art’s East Building Auditorium, 4th & Constitution Ave. NW. FREE. (202) 737-4215. (Mark Jenkins)