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TO OCT. 23
Since Yugoslavia shattered 15 years ago, most of the films exported to the West from the region have been either harrowing civil-war dramas or political black comedies. But there’s another genre that neatly addresses the ex-Yugo mood: the Hitchcockian thriller. South by Southeast (at 8 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 23) closes this survey of recent films from Serbia and Montenegro with the suitably paranoiac tale of an actress whose 4-year-old daughter may be missing or may never have existed. In addition to a direct homage to North by Northwest, the movie intercuts a professor’s lecture on troubled Balkan history with chase scenes. Things are gentler in the other previewable films, although the war does provide the backdrop for The Red Colored Gray Truck (at 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22), a blackly comic (of course) road movie about a pregnant rock singer and a colorblind truck fetishist who find each other while fleeing Belgrade for Italy. The only Montenegrin film in the selection—and the only one made in years—is Packing the Monkeys, Again (pictured; at 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22), a flashy, moderately surrealistic domestic satire about a bickering young couple who get overly involved with the neighbors. Also included are two slacker comedies, Thunderbirds (at 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 23), which charts one night of love, drugs, goth-rock, and drum ’n’ bass, and When I Grow up, I’ll be a Kangaroo (at 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 23), which takes its inspiration from soccer. The series runs through Sunday, Oct. 23 (see Showtimes for a weekly schedule), at the Avalon Theater, 5612 Connecticut Ave. NW. $9.50. (202) 966-6000. For more information visit www.theavalon.org. (Mark Jenkins)