MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Up 781 this week

Los Angeles Plays Itself (2003)

8.0
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 8.0/10 from 763 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.

Director:

Writer:

(text)
Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

Editors' Spotlight

Fall TV Premiere Week

Many of your favorite shows are coming back, along with plenty of series premieres. Here's a list of the shows premiering between Sunday, September 21 and Friday, September 26.


User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 21 titles
created 20 Apr 2011
 
a list of 47 titles
created 18 Jul 2011
 
a list of 45 titles
created 13 Jan 2013
 
a list of 31 titles
created 11 months ago
 
a list of 21 titles
created 5 months ago
 

Related Items


Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Los Angeles Plays Itself (2003)

Los Angeles Plays Itself (2003) on IMDb 8/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Los Angeles Plays Itself.
2 wins. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Short | Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

This brief documentary-style film presents the status of Great Britain near the end of the Second World War by means of a visual diary for a baby boy born in September, 1944. Narration ... See full summary »

Director: Humphrey Jennings
Stars: Michael Redgrave, Myra Hess, John Gielgud
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Interview with Jason Holliday aka Aaron Payne, house boy, would be cabaret performer, and self proclaimed hustler giving one man's gin-soaked pill-popped, view of what it was like to be ... See full summary »

Director: Shirley Clarke
Stars: Jason Holliday, Shirley Clarke, Carl Lee
Documentary | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

This documentary was five years in the making, and revolves around 62-year-old Okuzaki Kenzo, a survivor of the battlefields of New Guinea in World War II who gained notoriety by ... See full summary »

Director: Kazuo Hara
Stars: Kenzo Okuzaki, Riichi Aikawa, Masaichi Hamaguchi
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

The impact of the decline of heavy industry on workers and their families in the Tiexi district of Shenyang, China, at the turn of the 21st century, documented unflinchingly by a fly-on-the-wall camera.

Director: Bing Wang
Walden (1969)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Director: Jonas Mekas
Stars: Timothy Leary, Ed Emshwiller, Franz Fuenstler
Documentary | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A depiction of life in wartime England during the Second World War. Director Humphrey Jennings visits many aspects of civilian life and of the turmoil and privation caused by the war, all without narration.

Directors: Humphrey Jennings, Stewart McAllister
Stars: Chesney Allen, Leonard Brockington, Bud Flanagan
Red Hollywood (Video 1996)
Documentary | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A documentary that examines the films made by the victims of the Hollywood Blacklist and offers a radically difference perspective on a key period in the history of American cinema.

Directors: Thom Andersen, Noël Burch
Stars: Paul Jarrico, Alfred Lewis Levitt, Abraham Polonsky
Documentary | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Directors: Thom Andersen, Fay Andersen, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Dean Stockwell, Eadweard Muybridge
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
Director: John Akomfrah
Stars: Pervaiz Khan, Meera Syal, Yvonne Weekes
Welfare (1975)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Director: Frederick Wiseman
Documentary | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Directors: Octavio Getino, Fernando E. Solanas
Stars: María de la Paz, Fernando E. Solanas, Edgardo Suárez
I, a Negro (1958)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Director: Jean Rouch
Stars: Oumarou Ganda, Gambi, Petit Touré
Edit

Cast

Credited cast:
Encke King ...
Narrator (voice)
Edit

Storyline

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)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

January 2004 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

To Los Angeles paizei to rolo tou  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Connections

Features Dragnet (1954) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
You will never look at films in quite the same way again
20 June 2005 | by (Vancouver, B.C.) – See all my reviews

Los Angeles Plays Itself asks the question - should we expect films to represent the truth or is anything acceptable in the name of entertainment? Director Thom Andersen is mostly concerned about how his city, the City of Los Angeles, has been represented in the movies. In an abrasive and brilliant three-hour cinematic essay, he wants us to know that the history, locations, and social makeup of Los Angeles bears little resemblance to how it has been depicted on screen over the years. According to Andersen, "Los Angeles is where reality and representation get muddled," he says. The public conception of Los Angeles (he despises calling it LA) he says is of discontinuity, nonexistent addresses, phony telephone numbers, rich and corrupt individuals who live in modernist houses in the hills, and ethnic minorities who live next to oil refineries if they live at all.

Containing clips from literally hundreds of films, Los Angeles Plays Itself is divided into three parts plus a very welcome intermission. Encke King narrates but the text is from Andersen, a Professor of Film Studies at the California Institute of the Arts and a resident of Los Angeles since age seven. The first part, The City as Background, looks at how real sites have been misleadingly portrayed in a cinematic history of buildings and houses turned into something far from their intended purpose. Using clips from such diverse films as The White Cliffs of Dover and DOA, he shows how the massive sky-lit Bradbury Building was turned into a British hospital, a Burmese hotel, and a police headquarters. In The City as Character, he shows the deterioration of the residential downtown area known as Bunker Hill that went from an upscale neighborhood to one of seedy rooming houses until it was finally leveled for redevelopment and commercial high rises.

Accessible by a railcar known as Angel's Flight, Bunker Hill in the movies became a setting for adultery and murder in film noirs such as Kiss me Deadly and Double Indemnity and eventually a futuristic dreamscape in Blade Runner. These are contrasted with the documentary The Exiles by Kent Mackenzie that shows the reality of the cultural dislocation of a subculture of Arizona Indians living in loneliness on the hill. Andersen discusses landmarks that no longer exist such as the Pan Pacific Auditorium and laments the passing of the drive-in restaurant and drive-in movies. He has little good to say about films such as Altman's Short Cuts, Steve Martin's L.A. Story, and Woody Allen's Annie Hall that, he says, repeat tired clichés about his city. He also takes umbrage at films like War of the Worlds, Predator 2, and Independence Daythat blow his city to smithereens to satisfy the audience's need for destruction.

The final part is called The City as Subject and here Andersen exposes the lies of films such as Chinatown and L.A. Confidential that tell only part of history, delving into the real scandals in L.A. history that reached far deeper than that shown in the movies. He even dissects good old Joe Friday in Dragnet, showing it as a TV series that mirrored the LAPDs contempt for the ordinary citizen. The essay ends with a look at some rare independent films that portray a part of ethnic Los Angeles overlooked in big studio productions. These are Bush Mama, Killer of Sheep, and Bless Their Little Hearts, a film about the tribulations of an aging unemployed black man in South Central Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Plays Itself is a fascinating excursion into the history of cinema and Andersen's commentary is hard hitting, insightful, and revealing. He invites us to reawaken our senses and view movies consciously, not simply accept uncritically what is presented on the screen. Whether you agree or disagree with his point of view, I guarantee you will never look at films in quite the same way again.


8 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
DVD? bzabatman
Length of the film Popey-6
Will this spoil many films? number11baller
Films I watched after watching this doc hoyo-mont
'Los Angeles' vs. 'L.A.' fiestasandsiestas
title actually making a reference to porn cmp4x
Discuss Los Angeles Plays Itself (2003) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?