Of the cities in the world, few are depicted in and mythologized more in film and television than the city of Los Angeles. In this documentary, Thom Andersen examines in detail the ways the city has been depicted, both when it is meant to be anonymous and when itself is the focus. Along the way, he illustrates his concerns of how the real city and its people are misrepresented and distorted through the prism of popular film culture. Furthermore, he also chronicles the real stories of the city’s modern history behind the notorious accounts of the great conspiracies that ravaged his city that reveal a more open and yet darker past than the casual viewer would suspect. —IMDb
Thom Andersen (born 1943, Chicago) is a filmmaker, film critic, and teacher. He currently teaches film theory and history at the California Institute of the Arts, and has previously taught at the SUNY Buffalo and Ohio State University. In the early 60’s, he studied film at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. He has also been the programmer for LA Filmforum in Los Angeles during the late 90’s. His more recent work, including Los Angeles Plays Itself, has taken its cues from Formalism. Los Angeles Plays Itself won the National Film Board Award for Best Documentary at the 2003 Vancouver International Film Festival. —Wikipedia
Photograph by Suzanne Mejean
Starting to get into a little loved by yanks genre: the visual essay. I've loved all the ones like this or certain films by Chris Marker or Mark Rappaport I've seen. Maybe it's not "film'' or pretentious to film an essay but I like it. If this was just an cinefile mag or online article, I'd still dig it. This is an awesomely dense and meandering (a sincere compliment-my fave writing) "meditation" on film and a city.
i wanna see all those los angeles-based films now. for real. super interesting documentary one of the best i've seen. did not like the woody allen and antonioni bashing tho. pretentious low-tourist? blow me. like new york has his woody allen? like it's a plague. please. still. a landmark in documentary. and really interesting. made my top 10 of need to be seen before one's death. that big of a deal!
Quite an interesting visual essay about LA and the various representations of it cinematically.