Los Angeles Plays Itself (Andersen, 2003): BFI Southbank, NFT2, 3.20pm
This superb video essay plays in The Art of the Essay Film season and also screens on August 15th. More details here.
Chicago Reader review:
This brilliant and often hilarious video essay (2003) by Thom Andersen (Eadweard Muybridge, Zoopraxographer)
assembles clips from 191 movies set in Los Angeles, juxtaposing their
fantasies with the real city as seen by a loyal and well-informed
native. That might sound like a slender premise for 169 minutes, but
after five viewings I still feel I've only scratched the surface of this
epic meditation. Andersen focuses on the city's people and
architecture, but his wisecracking discourse is broad enough to
encompass a wealth of local folklore, a bittersweet tribute to car
culture, a critical history of mass transit in southern California, and a
song of nostalgia for lost neighborhoods and lifestyles. Absorbing and
revelatory, this is film criticism of the highest order.
Here is the trailer.