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TO JUNE 28
Ghosts, vampires, and other supernatural characters are featured in movies made all over the world, but in buttoned-up China and Hong Kong, these creatures have a special appeal: According to Chinese legend, female specters feed on the life force of living men who are in the act of sexa premise that provides a culturally sanctioned basis for an eroticism that is otherwise rare in mainstream Cantonese- and Mandarin-language movies. Beginning in the mid-’80s, Joey Wong came to personify the genre: In Clara Law’s The Reincarnation of Golden Lotus (at 7 p.m. Friday, June 1), she plays a reborn Ming Dynasty temptress who flees Maoist China for Hong Kong, where she meets several men, all reincarnations of former lovers. And in Green Snake (at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 21, pictured), she plays one of two reptilian sisters (the other is Maggie Cheung) who turn human in search of love, in a tale that inspired uncharacteristic sensualism in director Tsui Hark. King Hu’s Legend of the Mountain (at 7 p.m. Friday, June 8) is an earlier exploration of the sexy-ghost theme. Among other recent genre staples are the Qin Dynasty terra-cotta warriors unearthed in 1974: In Dream Lovers, Chow Yun-Fat and Brigitte Lin play modern professionals, once Qin Dynasty lovers, who meet again at a terra-cotta warriors exhibition (at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 31, and 2 p.m. Sunday, June 3). Also represented here are examples of the horror comedy (Encounters of the Spooky Kind, at 2 p.m. Sunday, June 10) and animation (Grandma and Her Ghosts, at 2 p.m. Sunday, June 24, and at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 28). The festival runs to Thursday, June 28, at the Freer Gallery of Art’s Meyer Auditorium, 12th and Jefferson Drive SW. Free. (202) 357-4880 (Mark Jenkins)