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Opens NOV. 14
Just one of the entries in the Freer’s third annual roundup of notable new Asian films is flagged for mature audiences only, but lust animates all six. The series opens with Chinese director Tian Zhuangzhuang’s elegant, understated Springtime in a Small Town (at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 14), in which a man returns to his war-ravaged childhood village after a 10-year absence and learns that the woman he once hoped to marry is now the wife of a close friend. In Toshiaki Toyoda’s alternately farcical, poignant, and horrific Nine Souls (pictured; at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 19), nine men escape from a Japanese prison, several of them motivated by desire for the women they left behind. The only film that’s not a local premiere, Hou Hsiao-hsien’s exquisitely composed Millennium Mambo (at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 21), is the tale of a beautiful Taiwanese bar hostess who breaks away from an abusive lover. The most explicit of the films, Satyajit Maitipe’s Scent of the Lotus Pond (at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 5), follows a young Sri Lankan garment worker and her various lovers. Set in an utterly upscale Beijing, Feng Xiaogang’s Cellphone (at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 10) is a rueful comedy about a philandering TV host whose electronic devices are turned against him. The final film is a feminist parable from 10th-century India, Anaahat (Eternity) (at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 19), in which a childless queen is forced to mate with a stranger. The series opens Sunday, Nov. 14, and runs through Sunday, Dec. 19, at the Freer Gallery of Art’s Meyer Auditorium, 12th Street and Jefferson Drive SW. Free. (202) 633-4880. (Mark Jenkins)