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Anyone who cares about D.C. voting rights knows disappointment, so it’s a familiar feeling that pervades the opening few seconds of Un-Natural State. Of all the ways to introduce a documentary about the peculiar injustice that burns federal-city taxpayers, the filmmakers pick a.) a white, mustachioed philosophy professor from American University to b.) dramatically overtell the shadows-as-reality story of Plato’s Cave? Sorry, fellas, but you can do better. And, by most measures, this 65-minute film about the historical and current lament of taxation without representation proves that as it progresses. The cinematography will make you both recognize your city and see it in a new, flattering light. Deft, fun edits move what might be a Beltway-only interest into one that might actually hold the attention of the “real America.” Insight comes from the expected (DC Vote’s Ilir Zherka, Shadow Rep. Mike Panetta) and the less so, including the man in charge at the Seafarers Yacht Club who explains in unassailable terms how the lack of voting reps in Congress has mucked up the Anacostia. Star treatment is rightly reserved for D.C.’s favorite daughter, Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton. Her fiery speeches on the House floor play well amid tourists, both clueless and informed, and members of Congress who fit both of those descriptions as well. Her sound bites are the takeaways, including this one: “This is a planned city. The founders planned for everything but full and equal rights for the people who live here.” Plato couldn’t have said it better.
Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at Landmark’s E Street Cinema.