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AUGUST 5-20

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Suzuki Seijun’s ’50s and ’60s films were B movies in the original sense—they were made to fill out the second half of a double bill—and it never occurred to his studio, Nikkatsu, to export them. In fact, Nikkatsu fired him in 1967, citing the “incomprehensible” nature of his subsequent work. (Since then, he’s made only a few films.) The director began by making the expected low-budget gangster and rebellious-youth pictures, but came to subvert genre conventions with a knowingness some have compared to Godard. This series of films, unseen outside Japan until recently, begins with such early efforts as Voice Without a Shadow (shown with Harbor Toast: Victory Is in Our Grasp, Aug. 5, 2:30 p.m.); Our Blood Will Not Forgive (Aug. 6, 6 p.m.); and Go to Hell, Hoodlums! (Aug. 12, 2:30 p.m.), whose flashy titles suggest their aesthetic. Most notable, however, are such distinctive later efforts as Fighting Elegy (Aug. 19, 4 p.m.); Branded to Kill (pictured, Aug. 20,6 p.m.); and Tokyo Drifter, a delirious (if indeed slightly incomprehensible) existential-gangster extravaganza whose postmodern poetics and flamboyant use of color and lighting anticipate the work of (among others) Fassbinder, John Woo, and Lars von Trier (Aug. 19, 2:30 p.m.). At the National Gallery of Art’s East Building Auditorium, 4th & Constitution Ave. NW. FREE. (202) 842-6713. (Mark Jenkins)