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OPENS JUNE 18
If you meet the Buddha on the road, tickle him to death. That’s not exactly how the Zen koan goes, but it’s certainly true that Buddhism has a better sense of humor than some other world religions. This series, programmed in collaboration with the International Buddhist Film Festival, presents four comical culture-clash flicks, three of them set at least partially in Buddhist monasteries. The program opens with Doris Dorrie’s Enlightenment Guaranteed (at 7 p.m. Friday, June 18), in which two bourgeois German brothers travel to Japan, one seeking wisdom and the other just along for the disorienting ride. The first film ever written and directed by an actual lama, Khyentse Norbu’s The Cup (at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 24) is a gentle comedy about Tibetan-émigré child monks who conspire to smuggle a TV into their dormitory so they can watch the World Cup. In Zhang Yang’s Shower (pictured; at 7 p.m. Friday, June 25), an ambitious young Chinese businessman visits his father and brother at the family’s Beijing bathhouse, a ramshackle place that embodies not only old China but also the values of community and tradition. The final entry, Park Cheol-kwan’s Hi! Dharma (at 2 p.m. Sunday, June 27), matches monks and gangsters: Thugs on the run take refuge in a remote Korean monastery, where the abbot challenges them to a series of illuminating games. Gaetano Kazuo Maida, the International Buddhist Film Festival’s executive director, will introduce and discuss the last three films. The series opens Friday, June 18, and runs through Sunday, June 27, at the Freer Gallery of Art’s Meyer Auditorium, 12th Street and Jefferson Drive SW. Free. (202) 633-4880. (Mark Jenkins)