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Los Angeles Plays Itself

April 13, 2005 ・ Blog

I finally got around to seeing this incredible film tonight at the ICA. It’s essentially a documentary, made up of hundreds of clips of films that reference in some way Los Angeles, accompanied by the dour and ironic voiceover of its creator, Thom Andersen. He loves and is very protective of his city, and that viewpoint makes at least the first half (it’s about two and half hours long) mesmerising. Oh, and the clips are brilliantly chosen too.

There’s so much he goes into, so I recommend just seeing it really, but one element stood out for me. Andersen shows that films often use Los Angeles’ modernist architecture, like that of Neutra, as the sets for the houses of decadent and evil characters, like porn magnates and drug barons. It seems to indicate a heavy distrust of that actually very utopian typology that festers in film makers’ minds.

Anyway, go and see it. But have a read of this first – it’s a nicely lengthy post about Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and how it represents Los Angeles (with pictures!), and it goes a little into Los Angeles Plays Itself too.