IN WASHINGTON, everyone's a critic. But in the Soviet Union, it seems, everyone's a director. On the occasion of the 1990 U.S.-Soviet summit, the Soviet Embassy, in partnership with the American Committee on U.S.-Soviet Relations and the Library of Congress, has compiled an eight-film series of recently made works, directed by a clutch of new names. One of them, Nikolai Gubenko, is his country's Minister of Culture. Hmmm, wonder how he got selected.
The films, to be screened free at the Library of Congress's Mary Pickford Theater, kick off this weekend with Vadim Abdrashitov's "The Servant" (138 minutes) at 7 Friday and Gubenko's "Life, Love and Tears" at 1 Saturday. At 7 Tuesday, it's Yuri Mamin's "The Fountain"; at 12:30 Wednesday, Alexander Ityghilov's "The Humble Cemetery"; and at 12:30 Thursday, Stanislav Rostotsky's "From the Life of Fyodor Kuzkin."
The series continues next weekend with Mikhail Ptashuk's "Our Armored Train" (130 minutes) at 7 Friday, June 1; and with Sergei Bodrov's "SER: Freedom Is Paradise" at 1 Saturday; then concludes at 7:30 Monday (June 4) with Alexander Proshkin's "Cold Summer of 1953." Seating is limited to 64 seats, so reservations are required. Call 707-5677 weekdays, between 9 and 4:30.
THE SOVIET Union's best modern director, the late (and exiled) Andrei Tarkovski, won't have any works shown at the Pickford, but his quasi-science fiction epic, "Solaris," which was released here a few years ago at half its original length, returns to Washington in the restored, 167-minute version. It opens at the Biograph June 1 for a week's run but, before that, can be seen on a larger screen Friday (at 8:30) at the American Film Institute. Admission is $6 ($5 AFI members); call 785-4600 for recorded schedule of other films, which this weekend includes Pedro Almodovar's "Law of Desire" (at 6:30 Friday and 6 Saturday).
THE NATIONAL Gallery of Art starts a new (free) series this weekend at the East Building auditorium, a mini-retrospective of Swedish directors Alf Sjoberg and Ingmar Bergman. Sjoberg's first feature, and his only silent film, 1929's "The Strongest," screens at 2:30 Saturday; and at 6 Sunday, his 1942 "Road to Heaven" will be shown.