FILMMAKER SAUL LANDAU, a senior fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, begins an eight-week series of his films this Sunday with Fidel, a 96-minute portrait of Castro. Made in 1969, the film explains the nature of the Cuban revolution and finds Fidel chatting with peasants and playing baseball.

Other Landau documentaries in the Sunday evening series include his 1968 From Protest to Resistance, a look at the "Movement" featuring Stokely Carmichael, Mario Savio and David Harris; and The CIA Case Officer. Landau will be at all the showings, which begin at 7 p.m. Admission is $2 at 1901 Q Street NW. Call 234-9382 during weekday business hours.

After Winter: Sterling Brown, directed by Haile Gerima and produced by the faculty and students of Howard University's Department of Radio, TV and Film, premieres Saturday at the American Film Institute. The documentary follows the life and words of Washington's 85-year-old Sterling Brown, a former professor at Howard. Admission is free; showtimes are noon and 2. Call 636-7927 or 737-5525.

Baltimore's Babe Ruth Museum will bring two special attractions to its movie screen over the next two weekends to celebrate the Babe's 91st birthday. This Saturday and Sunday at 11 a.m. and 1, it's the four-star, 127- minute tribute to Lou Gehrig, Pride of the Yankees, shot in 1942 and starring the Babe, Gary Cooper and Walter Brennan. On February 8 and 9 at 11 and 1, it's The Babe Ruth Story (1948), starring William Bendix as the Babe. The films are free, with regular museum admission: adults $2.50; children $1.25; and seniors, $2. The museum, at 216 Emory Street, Baltimore, is open daily 10 to 4. 301/727-1539.

American University kicks off its Italian Film Festival this Sunday with two films. At 7, see Mauro Bologni's Libera, Amore Mio. At 9, it's Ettore Scola's Una Giornata Particolare, or "A Special Day," starring Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni in the story of the day in May 1938 when Hitler visited Mussolini in Rome. General public admission is $4, students with I.D. $2, and includes both pictures in the Wechsler Theater, Mary Graydon Center, 3rd Floor North. Call 885-2040.

Local film group I Am Eye presents "Three From the Dead House," three strange tales of terror from beyond the grave as told by an ex- mental patient, this Monday evening at 8:30 at D.C. Space, Seventh and E streets NW. Admission is $2, or bring a film to screen. Call 667-6498.

The Smithsonian Resident Associate Program celebrates Black History Month by screening two pre-World War II films produced by independent black filmmakers. Thursday evening at 6 p.m. in Carmichael Auditorium see Scar of Shame, a 95-minute silent movie made in 1927 featuring the then- Philidelpha-based Colored Players Film Corporation. On February 13, see the 1941 Blood of Jesus, directed by and starring Spencer Williams. Williams was seen later as Andy Brown in television's "Amos 'n' Andy" series. Members $7; non-members $10. Call 357-3030.

The Martin Luther King Memorial Library marks the month with a five-part series called "Insult/Integrity: Historical Analysis of Blacks in American Cinema." On Thursday at 6 see The Creation of Black Film Stereotypes with clips from D.W. Griffith's 1915 epic Birth of a Nation and the 1916 Birth of a Race. The free programs continue through February on Thursday evenings at 6 at the library, 901 G Street NW in Room A-5. Call 727-1271.

The Hirshhorn Museum has begun its winter/spring film series in the museum auditorium. On Friday evening at 8 see Louie, Bluie, a film about the life and times of Howard Armstrong, America's last black strig band leader. Saturday morning's 11 a.m. screenings for kids offer Curious George, Ben's Dream and other animated shorts from children's literature. At 1 p.m. Saturday see Philip Pearstein, a video look at a realist artist's career. At noon next Thursday see Frank Stella, featuring the artist at his 1984 retrospective at Harvard's Fogg Art Museum. Call 357-2700.