Freer and Sackler Galleries » Films

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Old Dog

Directed by native Tibetan novelist and filmmaker Pema Tseden, Old Dog centers on an aged shepherd on the Himalayan plains as he struggles to keep his Tibetan mastiff, an ancient breed desired by pet dealers and dog thieves. This film beautifully depicts contemporary Tibet, where rural society and traditional values clash with modernity. “A cleverly devised story, rich in allegory and social critiques with very little fat on its bones. Pema Tseden is a name you're going to be much more familiar with in the coming years” (indieWIRE). (Dir.: Pema Tseden aka Wanma Caidan, China, 2011, 88 min. DigiBeta, Tibetan with English subtitles). Categories: After Five. Films. Venue: Freer Gallery of Art. Event Location: Meyer Auditorium. Cost: Free. Seating for films is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Auditorium doors will open approximately 30 minutes before each show. Thursday, September 4, 2014, 7:00 PM.

Rock Me to the Moon

Go on a journey with Taiwan's most unusual rock band. Six middle-aged fathers, all with children suffering from incurable rare diseases, find comfort in their music. After forming the band Sleepy Dads, they undertake an impossible mission: to perform at the highly competitive Hohaiyan Rock Festival. Director Huang Chia-Chun first met Sleepy Dads in Taiwan's support group for children with rare diseases, where he noticed mothers greatly outnumbered fathers. Rock Me to the Moon won the audience award at last year's Taipei Film Festival and the prize for best original film song at the 50th Golden Horse Awards. (Dir.: Huang Chia-Chun, Taiwan, 2013, 115 min. DCP, Mandarin with English subtitles). Categories: Films. Venue: Freer Gallery of Art. Event Location: Meyer Auditorium. Cost: Free. Seating for films is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Auditorium doors will open approximately 30 minutes before each show. Friday, September 5, 2014, 2:00 PM.

Stray Dogs

In person: Vincent Wang, producer The latest feature from the celebrated filmmaker Tsai Ming-liang, Stray Dogs is a poetic portrait of an alcoholic father (played by Tsai's longtime partner Lee Kang-Sheng) and his two young children surviving in modern-day Taipei. They eat food left over from supermarkets and seek shelter in abandoned buildings—until one stormy night when they encounter a woman from the past. Tsai won the Grand Jury Prize at last year's Venice Film Festival and was named best director at the 2013 Golden Horse Awards for this film. "If nothing else, you're left with a master class in directing, and a film that anyone who's serious about cinema needs to make the time to see” (Oliver Lyttelton, The Playlist). (Dir.: Tsai Ming-liang, Taiwan/France, 2013, 138 min. D-Cinema, Mandarin with English subtitles). Categories: After Five. Films. Venue: Freer Gallery of Art. Event Location: Meyer Auditorium. Cost: Free. Seating for films is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Auditorium doors will open approximately 30 minutes before each show. Friday, September 5, 2014, 7:00 PM.

The Jungle School

This drama follows Butet Manurung, Time magazine’s 2004 “Hero of Asia,” as she evolves from an anthropologist into an educator and, finally, an activist. While she works with indigenous people in Sumatra, Indonesia, Butet collapses from malaria. A tribal boy named Bungo comes to her aid, motivating her to teach the children in his remote clan. Her good intentions do not get the blessing of her employer or of Bungo’s clan members, who still believe learning to read and write could cause calamities. Despite the challenges, Butet, deeply inspired by Bungo’s intelligence and eagerness to learn, makes every effort to keep teaching him. When a dreaded disaster occurs to Bungo’s clan, Butet is forced to leave the jungle people she loves. Will she be able to return? (Dir.: Riri Riza, Indonesia, 2013, 90 min. DCP, Bahasa Indonesia and Orang Rimba dialect with English subtitles). Categories: Films. Venue: Freer Gallery of Art. Event Location: Meyer Auditorium. Cost: Free. Seating for films is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Auditorium doors will open approximately 30 minutes before each show. Sunday, September 7, 2014, 1:00 PM.

The Missing Picture

Nominated for Best Foreign Language Film, The Missing Picture is filmmaker Rithy Panh's personal quest to reimagine his childhood memories. Propaganda footage is the only recorded artifact that remains of the Khmer Rouge’s reign of terror over Cambodia from 1975 to 1979. Panh uses beautifully detailed, sculpted clay figurines and elaborate dioramas to recreate the missing images from his memory. His recollections of his family and friends before and after the regime's rule are poignantly told through a narrator's poetic voice, as written by Panh. The Missing Picture captures a historical moment that never would have been recounted if not for the sheer creative mind of Panh and his innovative storytelling method. (Dir.: Rithy Panh, Cambodia/France, 2013, 92 min. D-Cinema). Categories: Films. Venue: Freer Gallery of Art. Event Location: Meyer Auditorium. Cost: Free. Seating for films is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Auditorium doors will open approximately 30 minutes before each show. Sunday, September 7, 2014, 4:00 PM.

Food and Film at the Freer: "Headshot"

In person: Pen-ek Ratanaruang 12:30 pm: Enjoy pre-film refreshments courtesy of the Royal Thai Embassy. Watch the trailer. In what Ratanaruang calls a “Buddhist film noir,” a straitlaced cop is framed for a crime he didn’t commit and loses his job. Disillusioned, he becomes an assassin for a shadowy syndicate dedicated to murdering fat cat politicians, corrupt businessmen, and others who hold themselves above the law. After taking a bullet to the head during a botched job, the former cop emerges from a coma with his vision literally turned upside down. Convinced that his condition is a form of karmic retribution, he sets out on a path of redemption, but his violent past won’t let him go. This stylish thriller moves back and forth in time with Hitchcockian double-crosses and intense action scenes. Intended for mature audiences. (Dir.: Pen-ek Ratanaruang, Thailand, 2011, 105 min. D-Cinema, Thai with English subtitles). Categories: Culinary Arts. Films. Venue: Freer Gallery of Art. Event Location: Meyer Auditorium. Cost: Free. Seating for films is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Auditorium doors will open approximately 30 minutes before each show. Saturday, September 13, 2014, 2:00 PM.

Monrak Transistor (aka Transistor Love Story)

In person: Pen-ek Ratanaruang Director Pen-ek Ratanaruang describes Monrak Transistor as “a piece of candy with just a taste of satirical poison at its center.” Adapted from a popular novel and dedicated to the late Thai singer Surapol Sombatcharoen (whose songs fill the soundtrack), this picaresque story follows Phaen, a country boy who marries a beautiful widow against his family’s wishes. After being drafted into the army, he goes AWOL and heads to Bangkok with the dream of becoming a singer. There, he becomes entangled with a possibly nefarious agent, while back at home his wife is tempted by a charming traveling salesman. Engaging performances and good humor characterize what Tom Dawson of the BBC calls “a colourfully shot illustration of life's unpredictable twists and turns.” (Dir.: Pen-ek Ratanaruang, Thailand, 2002, 90 min. 35mm, Thai with English subtitles). Categories: Films. Venue: Freer Gallery of Art. Event Location: Meyer Auditorium. Cost: Free. Seating for films is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Auditorium doors will open approximately 30 minutes before each show. Sunday, September 14, 2014, 2:00 PM.

6ixtynin9

Watch the trailer.  A botched money drop leads to windfalls of cash and carnage in Ratanaruang’s second feature. Depressed after being laid off from her job, Tum wakes up one morning to find a box of money outside her door, accidentally left there by gangsters because a missing nail turned the 6 on her door into a 9. Tum’s decision to keep the money gets her mixed up with a host of bungling thugs, and she soon starts running out of places to hide the corpses piling up in her flat. Savagely funny and full of increasingly outrageous twists and turns, this comic thriller won awards at the Berlin and Hong Kong film festivals. (Dir.: Pen-ek Ratanaruang, Thailand, 1999, 118 min. 35mm, Thai with English subtitles). Categories: After Five. Films. Venue: Freer Gallery of Art. Event Location: Meyer Auditorium. Cost: Free. Seating for films is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Auditorium doors will open approximately 30 minutes before each show. Friday, September 19, 2014, 7:00 PM.

Last Life in the Universe

Watch the trailer.  Last Life in the Universe begins with Kenji (Japanese star Tadanobu Asano), a lonely librarian’s assistant attempting to hang himself in his Bangkok apartment. His plan is interrupted when his brother bursts in, pursued by a Japanese gangster who shoots him dead. Kenji kills his brother’s murderer and flees. Through a series of coincidences, he then ends up at the house of Noi, a rambunctious young Thai woman who is in every way his opposite. Beautifully shot by master cinematographer Christopher Doyle, this inventive mix of fantasy, reality, and hallucination “is a wistful mood piece whose contemplative tone is periodically punctured by eruptions of violence. A meditation on the mysterious symmetry of lives and the unlikely attraction of opposites, the movie … observes the off-kilter romance of one of the world's odder couples” (Stephen Holden, New York Times). (Dir.: Pen-ek Ratanaruang, Thailand, 2003, 112 min. 35mm; Thai, Japanese, and English with English subtitles). Categories: Films. Venue: Freer Gallery of Art. Event Location: Meyer Auditorium. Cost: Free. Seating for films is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Auditorium doors will open approximately 30 minutes before each show. Sunday, September 21, 2014, 2:00 PM.

Invisible Waves

Watch the trailer.  Ratanaruang’s second collaboration with star Tadanobu Asano and cinematographer Christopher Doyle is an even more global affair than the first (Last Life in the Universe). Asano stars as Kyoji, a Japanese hit man posing as a chef and living in Macau. After carrying out a job to poison his boss’s wife, Kyoji is sent on a cruise to Phuket. He finds himself in a dingy stateroom where nothing works right, being pursued by two mysterious characters who may have dastardly designs on him. The film’s top-notch international cast also includes Korea’s Kang Hye-jung (Oldboy) and Hong Kong superstar Eric Tsang. (Dir.: Pen-ek Ratanaruang, Thailand, 2006, 115 min. 35mm, English, Japanese, Thai and Cantonese with English subtitles). Categories: After Five. Films. Venue: Freer Gallery of Art. Event Location: Meyer Auditorium. Cost: Free. Seating for films is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Auditorium doors will open approximately 30 minutes before each show. Friday, September 26, 2014, 7:00 PM.

Ploy

Watch the trailer.  Ratanaruang set Ploy “in a time when you were too tired to stay awake but also too tired to go to sleep.” In the early morning hours, Wit and Dang, a married Thai couple who have been living in the US, arrive in Bangkok for their first visit in many years. Unable to sleep, husband Wit wanders to the hotel coffee shop, where he bonds with Ploy, a young woman he invites to his room to rest. This stranger’s intrusion—and Dang’s suspicions about her husband’s fidelity—leads them to reassess their seven-year-long marriage. Made after two major international projects with the Japanese star Tadanobu Asano (Last Life in the Universe and Invisible Waves, playing September 21 and 26), Ploy is a meditation on displacement, homecoming, and relationships. The film is “a tasty slice of cinema, by turns oneiric, erotic, funny and emotionally perceptive” (Lee Marshall, Screen Daily). Intended for mature audiences. (Dir.: Pen-ek Ratanaruang, Thailand, 2007, 105 min. 35mm, Thai with English… Categories: Films. Venue: Freer Gallery of Art. Event Location: Meyer Auditorium. Cost: Free. Seating for films is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Auditorium doors will open approximately 30 minutes before each show. Sunday, September 28, 2014, 1:00 PM.

Nymph

Watch the trailer.  When asked to describe this film, Ratanaruang replied, “It's a love triangle about a man, a woman and a female ghost …. The filmmakers have sided with the ghost in this film; therefore the humans in the film are scarier than the ghost.” Nymph begins with a virtuoso shot that lasts several minutes, establishing the film’s mysterious jungle setting and enigmatic tone. It then follows an unhappily married couple who try to repair their relationship with a vacation in the country. Little do they know that two men were recently murdered there, and a mysterious force is trying to draw the husband deeper into the jungle. (Dir.: Pen-ek Ratanaruang, Thailand, 2009, 108 min. 35mm, Thai with English subtitles). Categories: Films. Venue: Freer Gallery of Art. Event Location: Meyer Auditorium. Cost: Free. Seating for films is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Auditorium doors will open approximately 30 minutes before each show. Sunday, September 28, 2014, 3:30 PM.

Special Event: Fear at the Freer!

Learn about spooky objects in our collection, make your own Freer-inspired mask, and enjoy Japanese food for sale from the Tokyo in the City food truck. Then, get in the Halloween spirit with a screening of Ring (aka Ringu), the movie that inspired the American thriller The Ring, at 7 pm. Ring kicked off the J-horror craze. It begins with teenage friends Masami and Imako discussing the latest urban legend about a mysterious videotape: after watching it, people receive a phone call telling them that they only have seven days left to live. After Imako admits to having seen the tape—and dies days later—her aunt Reiko, a TV journalist, tracks down a copy and watches it herself. When her phone rings, she knows she only has seven days to solve the mystery and save her own life. “Ringu has a minimalist intensity that can stop the heart with a simple flash-cut or a well-timed fillip in the musical score” (Scott Tobias, The Onion AV Club). (Dir.: Hideo Nakata, Japan, 1998, 96 min. 35mm, Japanese with English… Categories: After Five. Films. Venue: Freer Gallery of Art. Event Location: Meyer Auditorium. Cost: Free. Seating for films is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Auditorium doors will open approximately 30 minutes before each show. Friday, October 31, 2014, 5:00 PM.