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Working after-dark trades in a neon-painted Asian city, a solitary taxi driver and an upscale prostitute build a friendship that can’t, or won’t, develop into romance—as, all the while, old-fashioned romantic ballads seep from the radio. This sounds like unrequited romance as envisioned by a Wong Kar-wai wanna-be, and anyone who skips from Midnight, My Love’s first half hour to its last five minutes may think that’s just what the film is. But veteran Thai screenwriter Kongdej Jaturanrasamee—who even has a credit on action star Tony Jaa’s latest vehicle, The Protector—packs a lot more than urbane melancholy and garish tints into his second feature as a director. Round-faced cabbie Bati (comedian Petchtai Wongkamlao) loves classic songs and bygone ways for a reason: He knew happiness once, but it vanished in a moment that makes for lurid flashbacks. After he becomes the nightly chauffeur for beautiful hooker Nual (Woranut Wongsawan), Bati dreams of making her dream come true. She wants to open a bridal salon, a business that trades in love rather differently than her current profession. Yet boomtown Bangkok has more scams and muggings than legit opportunities for a “hick” like Bati to turn his modest earnings into the capital Nual needs. Jaturanrasamee’s story line echoes those of the corny old soap operas Bati relishes, but the culture-clash details continually shock Bati with the new: FM radio, cell phones, the first taste of a Big Mac. The film shows at 7 p.m. at the Freer Gallery’s Meyer Auditorium, 12th St. & Jefferson Dr. SW. Free. (202) 357-3200. (Mark Jenkins)