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MAY 8-JUNE 4

“Beijing Underground: The Next Generation of Mainland Chinese Directors”

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Such Chinese “Fifth Generation” directors as Zhang Yimou and Chen Kaige have been censured and harassed by the government, but their work is not nearly so confrontational as that of the up-and-coming “Sixth Generation” to graduate from the Beijing Film Academy. These filmmakers dare to portray contemporary life in urban China, taking as their protagonists those who live outside of or actually challenge the social order: Zhang Yuan’s Beijing Bastards follows a musician (Chinese rebel rocker Cui Jian playing himself) who’s searching for his suicidal girlfriend in the city’s underground-rock scene (May 28 at 7 p.m.); credited to director Wu Ming (“no name”), Frozen is the tale of a Chinese performance artist who decides that his final artwork will be his own suicide (pictured, June 4 at 7 p.m.). Two films by director He Yi are about men who abuse their positions: The Postman uses his mail access to meddle in strangers’ lives (May 8 at 7 p.m., May 10 at 2 p.m.), while the protagonist of Red Beads is an asylum orderly who’s romantically attracted to a patient (May 17 at 2 p.m.). Also included is Wang Xiaoshuai’s The Days, an account of a impoverished young couple in Beijing (May 31 at 2 p.m.). At the Freer Gallery’s Meyer Auditorium, 12th & Jefferson Dr. SW. Free. (202) 357-3200. (Mark Jenkins)