Movie City: Washington DC

Posted by | September 19, 2008
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George Pelecanos reveals the two Washingtons: one that is real, and the other that is in movies.

Our nation's capital, Washington, D.C. appears often in films, although more often as an architectural symbol of our nation than as a city on its own. Indeed Washington finds itself often at a disadvantage––a city without a state; a region without representation; a living neighborhood overshadowed by the memorials and monuments that surround it. In talking about Washington, D.C. as movie city, you have to really talk about two places––the real Washington that is rarely seen and the symbolic Washington that is a stand-in for the federal government.

We talk to George Pelecanos, whose 15 crime novels capture the feel and felonies of the real Washington. His most recent work, The Turnaround, catches up with six characters whose lives were altered by a single event in 1927. In so doing, Pelecanos also paints a historical panorama of the city he loves. We ask him to show us what Washington should look like on film. In Presidential Pictures, we look at film choices of the most powerful man in the free world. And in Capitol Assets, we take a selected look at the history of films set in Washington, D.C. And finally we go Behind the Blog with Washington DC-based filmmaker and blogger Sujewa Ekanayake.

George Pelecanos

George Pelecanos's Washington DC

Crime novelist and producer of The Wire George Pelecanos talks about Washington, D.C. in the movies.

Ronnie and Nancy take in a movie

Presidential Projections

Peter Bowen registers the various movie tastes of the America's supreme "Deciders."


Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

Capitol Assets

Peter Bowen lists just some of the 185 films that have been set in Washington, D.C.


Sujewa Ekanayake

Behind the Blog: Sujewa Ekanayake

Washington resident Sujewa Ekanayake tells about his film blog, "DIY Filmmaker Sujewa."

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