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AUG. 3–7

The idea is so natural that it’s surprising no one did it sooner: Use A Midsummer Night’s Dream as the basis for a rave flick. Techno is not a notably literary genre, but an enchanted night in the forest under the influence of love potions does sound a lot like a true believer’s description of an outdoor rave. (Partygoers Will McCormack, as Greg, and Keri Lynn Pratt, as Debbie, are pictured.) Director Gil Cates Jr. and scripter Robert Raymond don’t keep most of Shakespeare’s characters, just Puck and Oberon (here called O.B. John), who become the purveyors of controlled substances at “the rave of the century.” But the filmmakers retain the Bard’s essential setup: Young lovers promised to the wrong partners are freed by, uh, magic to follow their hearts. Xander attends the party with his friend Elena, but he’s in love with Mia, who’s still stuck on boyfriend Damon. (Mia and Damon are a couple, but mostly because their upscale families expect it.) Also at the rave are Xander’s friend Nick, who dreams of someday voyaging to the promised land of Ecstasy (Amsterdam), and Doc, the obligatory drug dealer with a gun and a grudge. Although rendered in suitably neon hues, the movie is not a visual triumph; its low-budget seams show, and an attempt at a Trainspotting-like aside is weak. The film’s principal virtues are its attractive cast, sprightly pace, thumping soundtrack, and happy-face take on young romance. The love drug is not required for viewing, but any cynics in the audience will probably wish they had taken something. The film opens Tuesday, Aug. 3, at 9:30 p.m., and also screens Friday, Aug. 6, and Saturday, Aug. 7, at 11:30 p.m. at the American Film Institute’s Silver Theatre and Cultural Center, 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. $5. (301) 495-6700. (Mark Jenkins)