For a better experience on MUBI, update your browser.
4.3
638 Ratings

Los Angeles Plays Itself

Directed by Thom Andersen
United States, 2003
Documentary

Synopsis

Of the cities in the world, few are depicted in and mythologized more in film and TV than the city of Los Angeles. Carefully weaving together footage from films made in or about the city, Thom Andersen gradually builds his thesis about how Hollywood has represented, and misrepresented, its hometown.

Los Angeles Plays Itself Directed by Thom Andersen
What Andersen is trying to do is restore the city’s identity, asking us to accept it as it is, to dispel the myth and undress the codes of Hollywood, to see beyond the mirage. It’s a noble endeavour from one of cinema’s true thinkers: a step towards reality in order to see the light.
March 14, 2018
Read full article
It’s an essay that qualifies as social history, as film theory, as personal reverie, as architectural history and criticism, as a bittersweet meditation on automotive transport, as a critical history of mass transit in southern California, as a wisecracking compilation of local folklore, as “a city symphony in reverse,” and as a song of nostalgia for lost neighborhoods such as Bunker Hill and unchronicled lifestyles such as locals who walk or take buses.
October 01, 2004
Read full article
Eccentric, standoffish, fiercely intelligent, and possessed of some moments of truly searing insight, Andersen’s consistently entertaining essay film takes its doggedly prosaic tack about as close as it can come to poetic revelation, aided in no small part by the very haziness of its title subject.
July 01, 2004
Read full article

What are people saying?

Related films