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FRIDAY

Art, life, and commerce all grapple for control in Welcome Back, Mr. McDonald, in which a Japanese network’s staging of a radio play teeters toward anarchy. The timid housewife who wrote the script is no match for the veteran actress who insists, with the live production scheduled to start momentarily, that her role as a small-town pachinko parlor attendant be changed to that of a sophisticated New York lawyer named Mary Jane. As the drama is broadcast, frantic tinkering continues in an attempt to cover the makeshift scenario’s continuity problems. Meanwhile, the author’s husband begins to realize that Mary Jane’s romantic longings are not strictly fictional. Writer-director Koko Mitani’s 1998 film isn’t speedy enough to convey the urgency of live-radio improvisation, but the many plot strands do come together hilariously at the movie’s climax—which finally reveals the meaning of the title. Mr. McDonald screens at 8 p.m. at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, 7th and Independence Avenue SW. Free. (202) 357-2700. (Mark Jenkins)

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