WITH THE explosion of talent from X-Filme, the Berlin-based entity that gave us the fabulous "Run Lola Run," this is a great time to see other films coming out of Germany.

Starting this weekend at the American Film Institute, the Goethe-Institut Washington and the Export Union of German Cinema will present "Recent Films From Germany," their eighth annual series of German films.

This year, nine films -- ranging from contemporary drama to documentary -- will be shown throughJan. 23; and filmmakers Ottokar Runze, Rolf Schuebel and Kerstin Ramcke will attend screenings of their work.

"Recent Films" starts at 8:15 Friday (repeated Saturday at 4) with writer-director Florian Gaertner's "Dragonland" (1999), a drama set in Berlin about a graphic artist whose emotionally haunted past is represented in a magical virtual world he creates called Dragonland.

The series continues at 8:15 Saturday with "The Volcano." Veteran director Runze will introduce the 1999 film, based on Klaus Mann's novel about two German sisters living in exile in Paris during the Nazi era. He'll also attend a second screening at 8:15 Monday.

"Annaluise and Anton," writer-director Caroline Link's 1998 adaptation of Erich Kaestner's children's book, will be shown at 2:45 Sunday and 8:15 Wednesday. The film's about two young friends with different social backgrounds.

Director Schuebel and producer Ramcke will present their award-winning "Gloomy Sunday" (1999) at 6:30 and at 9 Sunday. Set in Budapest in the 1930s, it's about a beautiful waitress and three men vying for her affections.

The remaining films are:

* Writer-director Andreas Dresen's 1999 "Night Shapes," set in the homeless regions of Berlin, Thursday at 8:15 p.m. and Jan. 23 at 2:45 p.m.

* Writer-director Dagmar Knoepfel's 1998 "Requiem for a Romantic Woman," a romance, Jan. 21 at 8:15 p.m. and Jan. 23, 4:45 p.m.

* Writer-director Petra Katharina Wagner's 1998 "Oskar and Leni," about an Olympic swimming champion who is also a jewel thief, Jan. 22 at 6:30 p.m. and Jan. 23 at 8:45 p.m.

* And finally: Jan. 22 at 8:15 p.m. and Jan. 23 at 6:45 p.m., "Late Show," Helmut Dietl's 1999 film about a radio presenter who gets the chance of a lifetime.

Tickets are $7 per show. For recorded screening and ticket information, call 202/785-4600. For more information, contact the Goethe-Institut at 202/289-1200.