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NOVEMBER 14-DECEMBER 7
In the Meiji period (1868-1912), long-isolated Japan grew up fast, while the emperor was restored to power and Westernization began with a vengeance. This upheaval explains why Japanese cinema has often turned to the epoch for historical dramas like the five films in this Freer Gallery series. In two powerful accounts of the era: Shohei Imamura’s Eijanaika (roughly translatable as “what the hell”) is a sweeping tale of anarchy and intrigue as the declining samurai class confronts the newly ascendant peasants (Nov. 16 at 2 p.m.); and, adapted from the autobiography of a pioneering Japanese feminist, Kenji Mizoguchi’s My Love Has Been Burning is perhaps the most scathingly political of the director’s films about women betrayed by men (Nov. 21 at 7 p.m.). Also included are Tokkan, which tracks two farm boys through the last days of the shogunate (Nov. 14 at 7 p.m.), Wild Geese, the story of a poor woman who becomes the mistress of a widower (Dec. 5 at 7 p.m.), and Sorekara, a tale of repressed love based on the 1909 novel by Natsume Soseki (pictured, Dec. 7 at 2 p.m.). At the Freer Gallery’s Meyer Auditorium, 12th & Jefferson Dr. SW. FREE. (202) 357-3200. (Mark Jenkins)