Southern Agenda

Screen Stars

Illustration: Tim Bower

It sounds like the setting for a Hollywood thriller: a radiation-proof Federal Reserve bunker stocked with untold treasure. But since 2007, the onetime nuclear-fallout facility tucked into the Blue Ridge Mountains in Culpeper, Virginia, has belonged to the Library of Congress, which now uses nearly ninety miles of shelving and underground vaults to store the world’s largest collection of movies, television programs, radio broadcasts, and sound recordings. While most of the sprawling refuge built inside Mount Pony is closed to visitors, the archive recently relaunched its program that welcomes the public to watch movies in an art deco-style theater at its Packard Campus of the National Audio-Visual Conservation Center. The free weekend screenings range from classics like Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to Flesh and the Devil, starring Greta Garbo. December’s offerings will have a snow theme, and in January, the theater will screen some of the twenty-five movies just added to the National Film Registry, an honor announced at the end of the year. The center’s moving image curator, Rob Stone, insists that movies are best on the big screen, experienced with others: “We want to show these films the way they were meant to be seen.”