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Tuesday, June 10, 2003

In conjunction with the Hirshhorn’s “Art Night on the Mall” and “Gyroscope,” a museum-wide celebration of its preeminent collection, a free summer program of international independent films will be presented on select Thursday evenings from June 26 through Aug. 14 at 8 p.m. in the Ring Auditorium. The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden is located at Independence Ave. and Seventh St., S.W. (nearest Metro: L’Enfant Plaza, Maryland Ave. exit.).

The free film series will focus on global issues, particularly the challenges presented by modern urban existence. “Japón” (2002), by Mexican filmmaker Carolos Reygadas, launches the film program on June 26. This chronicle of a suicidal loner thwarted by unexpected obstacles is presented in conjunction with the Mexican Cultural Institute. “Madame Satã” (2002), introduced by director Karim Aïnouz on July 10, and José Padilha’s riveting documentary “Bus 174” (2002), screened on July 31, are presented in conjunction with the Brazilian Embassy. These events are supported by Federal funds for Latino programming, administered by the Smithsonian Center for Latino Initiatives.

“Apsolutnih Sto” (“Absolute Hundred”) (2001), Serbian director Srdan Golubović’s feature, will be shown on July 24. Norwegian comedy “Folk flest bor i Kina” (“Utopia—Nobody Is Perfect in a Perfect Country”) (2002) will be screened on Aug. 14 in conjunction with the Royal Norwegian Embassy. Films are not rated but contain adult content; no advance tickets are needed and seating is available on a first-come basis.

During “Art Night” (on Thursdays June 26 through Aug. 28; no programming Aug. 21), the Hirshhorn’s galleries and shop will be open until 8 p.m. Other free “Art Night” activities include gallery talks, lectures, films, family activities and the “Jazz-o-scope” concert series. The Smithsonian’s “Art Night on the Mall” also offers programs at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Freer Gallery of Art and the National Museum of African Art. For an “Art Night” schedule, call (202) 357-2700. For a complete listing of Hirshhorn events, visit the Hirshhorn Web site at https://hirshhorn.si.edu.

Film Schedule

June 26, “Japón” (2002) Carlos Reygadas’s first film focuses on a loner who is contemplating suicide. He arrives in an isolated village where innumerable, unexpected obstacles confound his intentions. “Village Voice” critic Mark Peranson characterized the aura of this cinemascope Mexican film as “the landscapes of Leone, the mise-en-scène of Tarkovsky . . . and the battle scars of Herzog.” In Spanish with English subtitles.

July 10, “Madame Satã” (2002) Karim Aïnouz will introduce his first feature, which recreates the Rio slums of the 1930s and the true story of famous drag performer João Francisco dos Santos (Lazaro Ramos), who copes with bigotry, poverty and crime by focusing on his “family”–a few close friends. In Portuguese with English subtitles.

July 24, “Apsolutnih Sto (Absolute Hundred)” (2001) Srdan Golubović’s first feature explores how the desperation of everyday life in the former Yugoslavia can slip into a struggle for survival when Sasa (Vuk Kostic), a 19-year-old champion marksman, gets sucked into the parallel universe of local gangsters. In Serbian with English subtitles.

July 31, “Bus 174” (2002) Does broadcasting crime encourage it? Has television offered visibility for the disenfranchised? José Padilha’s riveting account of a bus hijacking in Rio in 2000 provides a close-up of the siege through news footage and interviews with witnesses, journalists and law enforcement officials. This fast-paced, provocative documentary also offers a compelling commentary on the growing international phenomenon of violent crime televised as spectacle. In Portuguese with English subtitles

Aug. 14, “Folk flest bor i Kina (Utopia–Nobody Is Perfect in a Perfect Country)” (2002)Directors Morten Tyldum, Arild Frølich, Sara Johnson, Ingebørg Torgersen, Terje Ragnes, Magnus Martens, Martin Asphaug, Hans Petter Moland and Thomas Robsahm collaborated on this rollicking, dramatic comedy of intermingled vignettes situated in and around a gas station on the eve of the national elections. A hit in Norway, where audiences enjoyed the humorous parallels between the film and their eight political parties, the work offers laughs that transcend language and politics. In Norwegian with English subtitles.

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