World Film Locations: Washington D.C.

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Freedom and democracy. Bills and laws. Bureaucracy and red tape. Washington, DC, the capital of the United States, is known for many things, mostof them related to the inner workings of the government. But it is also a city of carefully planned parks, trees exploding with cherry blossoms in spring, and bright sunshine polishing the gleaming white of stately memorials. With no shortage of iconic American landscapes, such as the vast National Mall; buildings, from the White House and the Capitol to the Watergate Hotel and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; and monuments, including the Washington Monument and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, it is at once synonymous with the country it governs and a world apart.

This friction animates and attracts filmmakers, who use the District's landmarks as a shorthand to express and investigate contemporary ideals and concerns about American society. Films set there both celebrate and castigate the grand American experiment it symbolizes. From Frank Capra’s 1939 Mr. Smith Goes to Washington to the alien invasion blockbuster Independence Day, films set in Washington depict our most ardent hopes and bring to life our darkest fears.

World Film Locations: Washington, D.C., collects essays and articles about Washington film history and locations. Featuring explorations of carefully chosen film scenes and key historical periods, the book examines themes, directors, and depictions and is illustrated with evocative movie stills, city maps, and location photographs. Taken as a whole, this is essential reading for any cinephile who has ever wondered how a bill becomes a law.