Los Angeles Plays Itself

Date: 31 October 2004 | Season: London Film Festival 2004 | Tags:

Sunday 31 October 2004, at 12pm
London National Film Theatre NFT3

Thom Andersen, Los Angeles Plays Itself, USA, 2003, 169 min
A remarkable documentary about cinema, an endlessly fascinating visual lecture and an important social commentary, Thom Andersen’s love letter to Los Angeles explores the city’s representation on film. With its relentless, mesmerising montage of clips and archive footage, the film explores how the Western centre of the film industry is actually portrayed on-screen. Divided into chapters that treat Los Angeles as – amongst other things – background, character and subject, the film revisits crucial landmarks (the steps up which Laurel & Hardy attempted to manoeuvre a piano in The Music Box, explores famous buildings (the Spanish Revival house in Double Indemnity, the cavernous Bradbury Building made famous by Blade Runner), and charts the city’s ‘secret’ history through such films as Chinatown, L.A. Confidential and Who Framed Roger Rabbit. As comfortable with softcore exploitation as it is with the avant-garde, Los Angeles Plays Itself is a cinematic treasure trove that makes one think again about a city that – as a movie location – has never seemed quite as romantic or exciting as New York. Indeed, the world around you may seem more mysterious and compelling after almost three hours well spent in Andersen’s company. And you’ll definitely never refer to Los Angeles as ‘L.A.’ again. (David Cox)

Also Screening: Thursday 28 October 2004, at 8:15pm London NFT1