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MAY 6–MAY 22
Edward Yang isn’t even the second-artiest Taiwanese art-film director: The movies of both Hou Hsiao-hsien and Tsai Ming-liang are more recondite. Yang, however, is no less a master of his style, which arrays the lives of everyday Taipei residents (plus a few gangsters, of course) in beautifully elaborate, sometimes satirical tapestries. Hou actually plays the central figure in this retrospective’s opener, Taipei Story (at 7 p.m. Friday, May 6), in which a former baseball star drifts away from his girlfriend as his city swiftly changes around him. The semi-autobiographical A Brighter Summer Day (at 1 p.m. Sunday, May 8) offers a view of changing society in ’60s Taiwan that’s so complex as to easily justify the four-hour running time. The Terrorizers (at 7 p.m. Friday, May 13) considers the fates of six people linked by a prank phone call. Tracing the interconnections among another large cast, A Confucian Confusion (at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 15) wryly observes conflicts between newfound affluence and traditional culture. For skittish Westerners, Mahjong (at 7 p.m. Friday, May 20) may be Yang’s most accessible film: Its cast includes American and European actors (including the ever-charming Virginie Ledoyen), much of the dialogue is in English, and it’s quite funny. The series closes with Yang’s masterpiece, Yi Yi (A One and a Two) (pictured; at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 22), a delightful multigenerational family saga in which an 8-year-old begins to contemplate the meaning of life. The series opens Friday, May 6, and runs through Sunday, May 22, at the Freer Gallery of Art’s Meyer Auditorium, 12th Street and Jefferson Drive SW. Free. (202) 633-4880. (Mark Jenkins)