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26

THURSDAY

By the time the unnamed protagonist in Carlos Reygadas’ Japón apathetically announces his intention to take his own life, it’s already been made apparent: His weary, expressionless face and lethargic movements reveal his overwhelming depression. Yet once he arrives at the isolated village where he plans to kill himself, the crippled painter unexpectedly finds a renewed lust for life (or, more specifically, for the elderly, arthritic widow who takes him in). Japón’s 142 minutes—which contain minimal dialogue—crawl by at a snail’s pace, while Reygadas’ Tarkovsky-esque penchant for long tracking shots and extended takes gives the audience ample time to take in the full beauty of barren Mexican landscapes, horse sex, and nose-picking locals. In a world as bleak as Japón’s—where ignorance, greed, and death are the governing forces of life—the suicidal artist’s desperate urge for serenity becomes understandable. The film is presented in conjunction with Art Night on the Mall at 8 p.m. at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden’s Ring Auditorium, 7th Street and Independence Avenue NW. Free. (202) 357-2700. (Matthew Borlik)