DICK RUDE, an actor in such cult films as "Repo Man," "Straight to Hell" and "Sid and Nancy" comes to town Saturday to show "Let's Rock Again!," his verite-style documentary on musician Joe Strummer, who died in December 2002. It screens at 7, 9 and 11 Saturday night at the former Capital Children's Museum (800 Third St. NE) on the fourth floor, part of Artomatic, Washington's art, music, theater, poetry, dance and film extravaganza, which opened Nov. 12.

The movie follows Strummer's Willy Lomanesque attempts to get his music (the Mescaleros) heard by touring (in the United States and Japan) and showing up at radio stations and record stores to promote his CD. There is also footage from his final tour. Watching the film feels like a different experience each time, Rude says.

"I'm actually shocked," says Rude, 40. "Whenever it does screen somewhere, like last week's AFI film festival [in Los Angeles], I never tire of watching it with an audience. There are things that make me laugh in places I never did before, and places where I cry where previously I hadn't. It always takes me in, even with me being the creator if it. It still somehow manages to manipulate me as an outsider."

What the film shows is not necessarily what Strummer and Clash fans (many of them weaned on behind-the-music type documentaries) might expect, Rude says.

"It's not a biography or a retrospective of the Clash. It's very much a portrait of a man that I loved, a memoir more than a biography."

Strummer, former leader of the Clash before he became a solo artist, "was viewed as an icon," says Rude, who was a longtime friend of Strummer after their mutual involvement as actors in Alex Cox's 1987 "Straight to Hell." People "carried around this idea of him as a symbol, as some sort of leader and revolutionary. That is partly true, but at the core of that, I think he knew himself to be a man among men. He actually came from a place of extreme humility."

When Rude showed "Let's Rock Again!" to former Clash players Mick Jones and Paul Simonon, who saw the film separately, they both had the same reaction, according to Rude. "They both said, 'Wow, I want to be like that.' "

It's a reaction he often sees, he says, which comes from Strummer's charming and disarming manner in the movie. If there's a message to be gleaned from this movie, Rude suggests it might be something like this: "You can achieve what you want as long as you don't give up and you're not hurting anyone in the process. . . . And you can't base what you're doing today on what happened in the past. That was what he tried to get across. Enjoy the beauty of the moment. No matter what you're doing or where he was, he was always part of the moment. And that's what helped this portrait, the honesty in the storytelling was helped by the subject."

The movie will be shown with a film about the band Fugazi called "Instrument," as well as a film of a Bad Brains concert in New York City in 1979. Admission is $5. For more information, visit www.artomatic.org or call 202-546-9071. You can also purchase tickets at Crooked Beat Records (2318 18th St. NW, 202-483-2328) in Adams Morgan.

GODARD RETROSPECTIVE

A large retrospective on the works of Jean Luc Godard started Thursday and continues this weekend at the National Gallery of Art's East Building. Co-founder of the French New Wave, a cinematic essayist and film poet, Godard has made consistently provocative, potent films since the late 1950s and shows no sign of flagging. This weekend starts with two of his early films.

Screening Friday at 2 and Sunday at 5:45 is the 1964 "Band of Outsiders" ("Bande a part"), in which two amiable hood cronies (Sami Frey and Claude Brasseur) and their girl-buddy (Anna Karina) try to steal a cache of money. The movie's a delightful affair, best known for the scene in which the trio runs through the whole Louvre museum, guards in chase, trying to beat an unofficial record.

Sunday at 4 , it's "Breathless" ("A bout de souffle"), the 1959 film that launched Godard's career. Starring Jean-Paul Belmondo as a Paris punk who teams with an American girlfriend (Jean Seberg) and gets into all kinds of trouble, this jump-cut-edited film was a tribute to American B-movies and one of the godfathers of the indie movie.

The series runs through Jan. 2. Check out the gallery's Web site (www.nga.gov/programs/flmgodard.shtm) for dates and details about the other movies: "Contempt," "Masculin Feminin," "Two or Three Things I Know About Her," "Weekend," "Notre Musique," "La Chinoise," "Videotheque Godard I," "For Ever Mozart," "Everyman for Himself," "Hail, Mary," "JLG/JLG -- Self Portrait," "In Praise of Love," "Videotheque Godard II" and "First Name: Carmen."

KAZAN TRIBUTE

Marlon Brando, big and beautiful. You can see him in one of his greatest screen performances in "On the Waterfront," at the American Film Institute's Silver Theatre. It screens daily through Thursday. Elia Kazan's 1954 classic, which has been restored for its 50th anniversary, was scripted by Budd Schulberg, based on Malcolm Johnson's articles about New York City harbor unions. Fortified by superb performances from Brando, Lee J. Cobb, Rod Steiger, Karl Malden and Eva Marie Saint, the movie cleaned up at the Oscars, winning eight awards, including Best Film, Director, Actor (Brando), Supporting Actress (Saint) and Cinematography (for Boris Kaufman).

The film also launches an AFI six-film tribute to Kazan through Dec. 2, including "Panic in the Streets," "Viva Zapata!", "Baby Doll" (actor Eli Wallach is scheduled to attend one of the two screenings Nov. 30 or Dec. 2; check the AFI Web site closer to the date) and the restored print of "A Face in the Crowd." Visit www.AFI.com/silver for the various times and other details; call 301-495-6700 for recorded information.

CELEBRATING SOUL MUSIC

Griot Cinema will screen "Only the Strong Survive: A Celebration of Soul Music," a 2002 documentary by DJ Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus that salutes soul artists from the 1960s and '70s. The film, which screens Sunday and Nov. 28 at 2:45, includes performance footage by and interviews with Wilson Pickett, Jerry Butler, the Chi-Lights, Carla Thomas, Mary Wilson, Ann Peebles, Rufus Thomas, Isaac Hayes and Sam Moore. It screens at the City Museum (801 K St. NW at Mount Vernon Square), next to the new convention center. Admission is $10 ($5 for students with ID). For more information, visit www.Blackfilmmakers.net.

-- Desson Thomson

Joe Strummer is the focal point of "Let's Rock Again!" It is "a memoir more than a biography," says creator Dick Rude.