Get local news delivered straight to your phone
Support City Paper!
One of English landscape painter J.M.W. Turner’s favorite subjects was the coastal town of Margate, whose skies he considered especially picturesque. Barely half a century after Turner’s 1851 death, filmmakers were documenting the town’s natural beauty and tourist attractions. Today’s program of movies set in Margate includes shorts from its 1920s peak, but the major entries reveal a place that’s become shorthand for loss and decay. Made in 1953, when Britain’s young men were getting angry, Lindsay Anderson’s O Dreamland is a cranky tour of a Margate amusement park. By 2000, the date of Pawel Pawlikowski’s bleak but empathetic The Last Resort, Turner’s Margate is gone, replaced by a gray refugee bivouac that resembles the country just abandoned by the central character, a visa-less Russian immigrant. The skies may still be pretty, but the English Channel is no longer a barrier to the commotion of a unifying Europe. The films show at 4 p.m. at the National Gallery of Art’s East Building Auditorium, 4th St. & Constitution Ave. NW. Free. (202) 737-4215.