Paisan (1946 Italy) aka Pais?
Directed by Roberto Rossellini
Shown: Alfonsino Pasca
Paisan (1946 Italy) aka Pais? Directed by Roberto Rossellini Shown: Alfonsino Pasca

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Luke Matheny, left, and Christopher Hirsh, in Matheny's short film God of Love.

The DC Shorts film festival—currently taking submissions for its 2011 edition—is rehashing some of the better films in its history this weekend with DC Shorts Rewind. Though screening titles from across the festival’s seven-year run, the centerpiece following its Oscar nomination yesterday for Best Short Live Action Film is God of Love, an 18-minute romantic comedy by Brooklyn filmmaker Luke Matheny.

Shot in Nouvelle Vague black-and-white, God of Love features Matheny as a dopey lounge singer with keen dart-throwing skills—hitting bulls-eyes is part of his act—and a crush on his winsome drummer. Romance and scheming evolve from set of love-potion-tipped darts, which the singer into an bedraggled Eros for the hipster crowd. The cinematography, while a bit contrived, fits the throwback mood of the piece and Matheny, who also teaches at Brooklyn’s School of Cinema and Performing Arts, draws solid comic performances from his cast.

God of Love screens as part of DC Shorts Rewind. Friday, 9:30 p.m. and Saturday, 10 p.m. Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H Street NE. (202) 393-4266. $12.

The National Gallery of Art, which has been screening Italian neorealist films all month, wraps up Sunday with Roberto Rossellini‘s Paisan (Paisà). An episodic look at the Allied invasion of Italy during World War II, Rossellini’s 1946 anthology features an ensemble screenplay with significant input from an apprenticing Federico Fellini and other heavyweights of the neorealist movement. American soldiers get unwittingly entangled with Roman prostitutes;Italian partisans clash with Nazis; and in one segment Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish chaplains walk into a monastery, and the hijinks of attempted conversion ensue.

As a sweep of the bloodiest chapter in Italian history, Paisan manages to find generous doses of warmth and humor amid the startling horrors of war. Upon its American release in 1949 Bosley Crowther of The New York Times called it a film “to be seen—and seen again.” It was later nominated for a Best Original Screenplay Oscar.

At the National Gallery of Art East Wing. 4th Street NW. Sunday, 4:30 p.m. Free.