There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
The United Kingdom is beloved for tea, the Beatles, and Princess Diana, but the country’s most profound cultural export of the past 30 years has been malaise—be it subtly snuggled into period dramas or on full view in the back of Morrissey’s jeans. England’s cinematic perfection of moral and mental ill ease first took shape with a series of iconoclastic New Wave films in the late ’50s and early ’60s, many of which are showing as part of the National Gallery of Art’s “England’s New Wave, 1958–1964” series. Directors such as Tony Richardson and Karel Reisz used on-location shooting and gritty realism to paint a portrait of the United Kingdom that was cold, gray, and unromantic. Here young malcontents—always men—struggle against the banality of life in Northern towns where every day is like Sunday. John Schlesinger’s A Kind of Loving (Saturday, Jan. 19, at 2 p.m.) tells the story of flagging romance and lowered expectations; Lindsay Anderson’s This Sporting Life (Saturday, Jan. 19, at 4:30 p.m.) finds brutality and moral ambiguity amongst a rugby team. Reisz’s Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (shown with Guy Green’s The Angry Silence Sunday, Jan. 20, at 4:30 p.m.)—possibly the series’ finest film—is a character study in shallow rebellion. Rounding out the series is Richardson’s The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (shown with Anderson’s Every Day Except Christmas Sunday, Feb. 3, at 4:30 p.m.) in which a hoodlum-turned-track-star wages class warfare while incarcerated at reform school. The series runs to Sunday, Feb. 3, at the National Gallery of Art’s East Building Auditorium, 4th St. & Constitution Ave. NW. Free. (202) 737-4215; see Showtimes for this week’s films; see nga.gov/programs/film.shtm for a complete schedule.