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.
Kenneth Chisholm ([email protected])
User Reviews: Most people are going to say ‘whoa!’ at the running time for this lengthy (3 and a bit hours) documentary but it is one of the most fascinating films you can see on the subject of Los Angeles (certainly not L.A.). Andersen’s monotone voice does not grate or bore and is scripted well not to tell too much or too little about the city. The running time, as any film or LA aficionado will appreciate, is not nearly enough time to fit in all that could be said, or shown, about the city, people, buildings, spaces, representations but he does very well with condensing what he has gathered.
Many critics have argued that the poor quality (it is entirely on video) of a lot (even the most recent) footage lets the piece down slightly which is true if the viewer is to appreciate the wide landscapes but matters not where he is simply trying to illustrate an oft-repeated point. People will say ‘what about ‘The Couch Trip’ or ‘where’s ‘Beverley Hills Cop’ but this is just nit-picking a fine achievement and a labour of love that Andersen has fortunately been able to share with the world. Even if you haven’t been to Los Angeles you’ll love this trip through the movies.