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Los Angeles Plays Itself (2003)

8.0
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 844 users   Metascore: 86/100
Reviews: 28 user | 50 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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Encke King ...
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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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"L.A." = ineffable
4 April 2005 | by (Seattle,WA) – See all my reviews

Trenchant and epic in size is Thom Andersen's "Los Angeles Plays Itself" – a doc that analyzes representation as much as it analyzes representation of Los Angeles itself.

How I adored the narrator's (Encke King) voice! It was at once sardonic and annoyed – a reflection of Andersen's emotional regard toward the whole matter, no doubt. What we hear are critical observations of the film clips that we see – there are quite literally dozens and dozens of clips here. This may seem disorienting and exhausting (to the interest level) but it's not. So struck with the compelling argument that Andersen presents to us do the hours fly by like minutes (not vice versa as Addison DeWitt said in "All About Eve").

Funny/interesting it is how this doc is set up like a conventional narrative film that Hollywood is guilty of routinely (and cloyingly) pushing on to the consumer - first we laugh and then we cry. The only difference here (and it's a big one) is that we're looking at actual subjects that existed or still exist. We cry for Los Angeles, you ask? Well, I'm not at liberty to discuss the poignancy that's present – it must be experienced firsthand in order to attain those surprise tears that are greatly missing in our movies.


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