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MARCH 5-APRIL 16
The Korean New Wave blossomed in the 1980s as an outgrowth of the late-’70s student movements that opposed both the country’s military dictatorships and its genre film-dominated commercial movie industry. Oddly, the Korean government supported the country’s revolutionary young talent, establishing the Korean Film Academy in 1984. But in 1987, the Film Act ended the quota system that had favored domestic films and American movies flooded into Korea. The New Wave went back underground, surviving in innovative independent productions like those in the Freer Gallery of Art’s new series. Director Park Kwang-Su examines Korean societal unrest and political oppression in A Single Spark, about the self-immolation of ’60s dissident Jeon Tae-II (at 7 p.m. Friday, March 17), and They, Like Us, which follows a political activist in a small coal-mining town (at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 26). Lee Myung-Se’s First Love (pictured, at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 2) shows us a college girl’s daydreams of idealized love for her drama teacher. Hong Sang-Soo’s The Day The Pig Fell Into the Well (at 7 p.m. Friday, April 7) revolves around the desperate lives of four romantically linked urbanites. In Im Kwon-Taek’s Sopyonje (at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 5), one of the most popular Korean films ever, a man remembers his life as an orphan who underwent rigorous training in the traditional p’ansori singing style. The series wraps up with another film by Kwon-Taek, the laid-back but groundbreaking Mandala, which tells the story of two Buddhist monks with philosophical differences (at 2 p.m. Sunday, April 16). At the Freer Gallery of Art’s Meyer Auditorium, 12th and Independence Avenue SW. Free. (202) 357-2700. (John Dugan)