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OCTOBER 9—DECEMBER 13
The entire continent of Africa doesn’t rival the movie production of a tiny place like Hong Kong, let alone such filmmaking behemoths as India and the United States. Those African films that have been seen in Washington, however, are inventive and distinctive, sometimes roughly made but usually fascinating. This 25-film series offers an impressive introduction to African cinema, organized by Aboubakar Sanogo, a Burkinabe film programmer who’s currently a fellow at the Museum of African Art. Included are such movies as Gito the Ungrateful, in which a man who’s just returned to Burundi with a French diploma finds himself with no job but two girlfriends (Oct. 24 at 3:30 p.m., Hirshhorn); Sankofa, Ethiopia-born Washington filmmaker Haile Gerima’s slickly impressionistic contemplation of slavery and its legacy (Oct. 24 at 7 p.m., Hirshhorn); Taafe Fanga, in which the women of a Malian village turn the tables on their demanding husbands (Nov. 28 at 7 p.m., Hirshhorn); and Hyenas, the story of a small Senegalese town that’s disrupted when a former resident, now wealthy, returns with a disturbing agenda (Oct. 31 at 7 p.m., Hirshhorn). Among the films from the Magreb are Salut Cousin!, a city-mouse/country-mouse parable about an Algerian man who travels to Paris, where he stays with his cousin, an aspiring hip-hop poet (Oct. 31 at 2 p.m., Freer); Bab-el Oued City, in which an Algerian man who’s weary of the Islamic messages blaring outside his apartment takes the unpardonable step of stealing the loudspeaker (Nov. 22 at 2 p.m., Freer); and Nasser 56, a blandly worshipful biopic about the Egyptian leader. Pictured is Honey and Ashes, the feature debut from N.Y.U. grad Nadia Fares (Nov. 1 at 2 p.m., Freer). The sub-Saharan films will be shown at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden’s Ring Auditorium, 7th & Independence Ave. SW, or the Dillon Ripley Center, 1100 Jefferson Dr. SW; the north African ones at Freer Gallery’s Meyer Auditorium, 12th & Independence Ave. SW. Free. (202) 357-2700. (Mark Jenkins)