WITH "The Sheltering Sky," Bernardo Bertolucci's adaptation of the 1949 novel by Paul Bowles, due to open soon, the American Film Institute has organized a retrospective of the Italian director's body of work.

"Sheltering Sky" will be shown (ahead of its commercial release) at 8:30 Friday and 6 Saturday at AFI in the Kennedy Center. Other Bertolucci films to be screened: "Accattone" at 8:45 Monday and 6:30 Tuesday was assistant director); "The Grim Reaper," at 6:30 Wednesday and 8 Thursday; and "Before the Revolution," at 6:30 on Jan. 11 and 6 on Jan. 12.

The following weeks offer "The Spider's Stratagem" (Jan. 13, 14); "The Conformist" (Jan. 16, 17); "Last Tango in Paris" (Jan. 18, 19); "Tragedy of a Ridiculous Man" (Jan. 24), "Luna" (Jan. 20) and his recut (in other words, longer) version of the epic "1900" (Jan. 26, 27).

Call 202/785-4600 for recorded AFI schedule; admission is $6 per show ($5 AFI members).

THE DESCRIPTION of Bruce Bickford's clay-animated "Prometheus Garden," to be presented Wednesday night by the local chapter of ASIFA (Association Internationale du Film Animation) sounds, well, interesting: "A doofus dude named Gus Reeves rambles across a magical garden where things grow with reckless abandon and transformations flourish . . . CAUTION: Sensitive viewers may be disturbed by the violence and gore. It's quite gratuitous."

Consider yourself warned -- or lured.

"Prometheus Garden" is part of "An Evening of Northwest Animation," which also includes Suzan Pitt's "Asparagus," Jo Bonney and Ruth Peyser's "Another Great Day" and Peyser's "Covered in Fleas." (No interesting description provided.)

The gathering's at 9 at the 15 Mins. nightclub, 1030 15th St. NW. Admission is $3 ($2 ASIFA members); call 202/408-1855.