USA, 2003, 169 minutes
Colour and B&W, Sound, Video
Los Angeles Plays Itself is a video essay by Thom Anderson about how movies have portrayed the city of Los Angeles. Carefully weaving together footage from dozens of films made in or about the city, Anderson gradually builds his thesis about how Hollywood has represented, and misrepresented, its home town.
Movies about Los Angeles have been, for the most part, period films, set in the past or in the future, and they replace the public history of the city with a secret history, opaque to its citizens This urban legen is not innocent. It serves to dissuade naÃ¯ve viewers from political engagement by telling them that they are condemned to ignorance and powerlessness, not matter what they do. In fact,the truth is the opposite: the public history is the real history, as the treatments of films such as Chinatown, Who Framed Roger Rabbit and L.A. Confidential demonstrate.
"No film this year has given me more pleasure than Thom Andersen's Los Angeles Plays Itself, a 169-minute documentary on the way LA has been represented in the movies using clips from more than 100 films ranging from the very familiar Double Indemnity to the (to me unknown) 'gay porno classic' also called Los Angeles Plays Itself"- Philip French, The Observer