Thursday, 23 February 2012

Week 9: D.C. - the District of Columbia

"I used to wear dress blues,
 I used to get my cues
 From the dudes in D.C.
 With the wing-tip shoes..."
 - 'The Grave and the Constant',
 Fun Lovin' Criminals

D.C. (the District of Columbia) isn't a state. It is a mere geographical anomaly. It can't even elect senators. However America only has 50 states and there are 52 weeks in a year, so I thought I would include it. After all, how can you have a film list about the USA that ignores its capital?

D.C. is, to all extents and purposes, Washington. For Europeans the one immediately identifiable landmark in the District is, of course, the White House. For Americans it might actually be the great domed Capitol, home to the House of Representatives and the Senate. For anyone who has been there it must surely be the National Mall, the great swath of green running the length of the city dotted with monuments designed to remind one of America's greatness and founding principles - life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Of course, that's all hooey. Let's remember our Gibbons: "Power tends to corrupt. Absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely". The cinema age has seen the US emerge from being a peripheral player on the world stage, to a great power, to one of only two superpowers, to the world's policeman. The players upon this stage hunger for national power, but international power comes with it. There is a reason the American president is described as "the most powerful man in the world". And where there is power there must also be corruption. While this might be no surprise amongst the decadent poseurs and closeted bureaucracies of the Old World, America is, of course, supposed to be different, to be better. So let's lift the lid off the tensions brewing within the Beltway and begin our search for corruption.

The three films for this week, all of which deal with corruption in some form or another, are:

  • Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
  • All the President's Men (1976)
  • The Exorcist (1973)

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