Sign up for our free newsletter

Free D.C. news, delivered to your inbox daily.

12

FRIDAY

Acid House? Cool Britannica? The Millennium Dome? None of these manifestations of the contemporary British character would have made any sense to the portly protagonist of The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s paean to an Englishness that was already losing its appeal when the film was made, in 1943. The tale is not uncritical of the British military—Churchill was incensed by it—but it is one of the most penetrating depictions of the mix of honor and romanticism that motivated the men who built the Empire: After losing his one true love to a German officer, the colonel has no choice but to become the German’s lifelong friend. In the era of Nazi brutality, Blimp’s chivalrous outlook was quaint yet admirable. His 19th-century ideals may seem even more appealing in the new age of terrorism. The film screens at 6:30 p.m. at the Library of Congress’ Pickford Theater, 101 Independence Ave. SE. Free. (202) 707-5677. (Mark Jenkins)