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Los Angeles Plays Itself (2003)

7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 781 users   Metascore: 86/100
Reviews: 27 user | 48 critic | 19 from Metacritic.com

A documentary on how Los Angeles has been used and depicted in the movies.

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Title: Los Angeles Plays Itself (2003)

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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. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol@rogers.com)

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January 2004 (USA)  »

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To Los Angeles paizei to rolo tou  »

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Interesting footage of city ruined by filmmaker's agenda
12 September 2008 | by (Santa Monica, CA) – See all my reviews

Where do people get the idea that movies are supposed to represent some kind of objective truth? That seems to be Andersen's main bug. He faults Hollywood for fictionalizing Los Angeles history. He says that rich white people can't make films about L.A. because they only know the rich white part of the city, and because they might offend their rich white friends. It seems in his view that only people who walk the streets and ride the buses are qualified to depict life in this city, but the clips he shows from a few "neo-realist" films don't feature the city very much, except for a long shot of a guy driving past a closed tire factory.

But all movies (even documentaries and those by poor black filmmakers) are constructs. By their nature (meaning meddling by cinematographers, editors, directors, etc.) they can only present a subjective view of the city. So why not embrace that? Things like "creative geography" are inherent to the art form, so why discount them? Ultimately, Andersen has a bug up his hinder about what he considers to be proper film-making, and it flies in the face of a hundred years of cinema history. And this guy is a professor of film studies!


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