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NOV. 9-NOV. 23
Lifestyles of the young and aimlessincluding hanging out, casual sex, and economic desperationlink at least three of the entries in the Freer Gallery’s second annual roundup of notable new Asian films. The impressive opener, Jia Zhange-ke’s Unknown Pleasures (pictured; at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 9) is about two underemployed pals in a bleak Chinese industrial city. More accessible than the director’s much-celebrated Platform, this droll comedy is set in a semicapitalistic society where Maoist propaganda theater has been supplanted by the Mongolian Liquor Dance Troupe. In Hong Sang-soo’s improvised Turning Gate (at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 21), a young actor’s offhand affairs parallel an old Korean fable of two lovers separated at a temple gate. A windswept town somewhere in post-bubble Japan provides the suitably bleak location for “Japanese Jarmusch” Nobuhiro Yamashita’s No One’s Ark (at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 12), in which a young couple makes a final attempt to market a nasty-smelling health drink that flopped in Tokyo. Darker in tone is Turkish director Zeki Demirkubuz’s Confession (at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 23), an account of an unraveling relationship that turns out to be more complicated than it initially seems. Also included are My Life as McDull (at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 16), the adventures of an animated Hong Kong piglet; Mekhong Full Moon Party (at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 7), a Thai theological comedy; and The Animatrix (at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 14), nine Japanimated shorts inspired by The Matrix. The series opens at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 9, at the Freer Gallery of Art’s Meyer Auditorium, 12th Street and Jefferson Drive SW. Free. (202) 633-4880. (Mark Jenkins)