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National Gallery of Art opens Film Season

The National Gallery of Art summer Film Season celebrates the best in world film culture from the early 20th century to the present with an array of premieres, new restorations, and focused retrospectives of master filmmakers. Films are shown in original 35 mm format, unless otherwise noted.

The National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C

The season opens on July 1 with the U.S. premiere of the director’s cut of Umbrellas, a documentary about Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s dramatic attempt in 1991 to synchronize the opening of huge blue and yellow umbrellas positioned in locations in Japan and Southern California. Screening on July 14 in honor of Fête Nationale are two films that use Paris as a backdrop—Celine and Julie Go Boating and Souvenir. On July 29, The Unbearable Lightness of Being immediately follows a discussion of its director, the great American stylist Philip Kaufman, led by Annette Insdorf, director of film studies at Columbia University School of the Arts.

Also screening in July is Peter Greenaway on Painting, a series presenting the English avant-gardist director’s ideas on Rembrandt. The Gallery’s annual preservation series, From Vault to Screen: Recent Preservation, features new restorations from, among others, the EYE Film Institute, Amsterdam; the British Film Institute, London; and Gaumont Pathé Archives, Paris.

Other series include the Gallery’s ongoing American Originals Now with independent filmmakers Mark Street and Liza Johnson; Miloš Forman: Lives of an Artist, presented in celebration of the Hollywood director’s 80th birthday, and Michelangelo Antonioni Centenary, saluting the Italian master filmmaker, arguably the most influential director of the postwar era, on the 100th anniversary of his birth.

Washington premieres include Diller Scofidio + Renfro: Reimagining Lincoln Center and the High Line, screening on July 6 as part of the series New American Architecture and Design: Saluting Checkerboard Film Foundation; on August 19 Liza Johnson’s Return, which was selected in 2011 for the Festival de Cannes Director’s Fortnight; and on September 8 El Velador, a documentary about the velador (caretaker) of a cemetery near Culiacan, Mexico.

Films are screened in the East Building Auditorium, located at Fourth Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW. Works are presented in original formats and seating is on a first-come, first-seated basis. Doors open 30 minutes before each show and programs are subject to change. For more information, visit or call (202) 842-6799.

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