The second week of this annual showcase emphasizes Eastern Europe. The standouts include three films, two by well-established directors, that take very different approaches to dark material. The most playful is I Served the King of England (pictured; at 7 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. Monday, Nov. 12), which improbably romps through World War II and the establishment of proletarian dictatorship. Czech director Jirí Menzel’s (Closely Watched Trains) bawdy satire is the tale of a diminutive Prague waiter who has a way with women and money, although historical currents don’t always flow his way. Taking its spirit from silent comedy, which Menzel explicitly emulates in one scene, the movie sustains a blithe outlook even when dealing with “Aryanization” and the confiscation of its hero’s hard-won fortune. Employing his trademark somber style, Hungarian director Béla Tarr (Satantango) transforms a Georges Simenon mystery into the exquisitely moody The Man From London (at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 14, and Thursday, Nov. 15). Nominally set in France, the story of a man who finds 60,000 stolen British pounds actually transpires in Tarr’s private universe, identifiable by its enigmatic motivations, lovely black-and-white compositions, and slowly tracking camera. As earthy as Tarr’s films are ethereal, György Pálfi’s Taxidermia (at 9:45 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9; at 10 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 10) is a riot of grotesqueries, including animal butchery, human reproduction, competitive speed eating, and, yes, taxidermy. This Hungarian curiosity is as mesmerized by the horrors of the body as any film since Eraserhead. Also included are Estonia’s Autumn Ball (at 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 10; at 8:15 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 11), whose vignettes reveal the dismal lives of the residents of a high-rise apartment complex; and Romania’s The Way I Spent the End of the World (at 5:20 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 10; at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 11), a coming-of-age story set during the last days of Ceausescu’s reign. The series runs to Tuesday, Nov. 20, at the AFI Silver Theater and Cultural Center, 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. $9.50. (301) 495-6700.

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