Price: $310.00

    Code: 2497

    Directed by Thom Andersen
    2003-2014, 169 Minutes (2 parts)
    Purchase: $310 | Classroom rental: $125

    *2015 "Notable Video for Adults", American Library Association

    Never before available, Thom Andersen's landmark documentary Los Angeles Plays Itself explores the tangled relationship between the movies and their fabled hometown - as seen entirely though the films themselves.

    From its distinctive neighborhoods to its striking architectural homes, Los Angeles has been the backdrop to countless movies. In this dazzling work, Andersen takes viewers on a whirlwind tour through the metropolis' real and cinematic history, spanning nearly 100 years, from the silent era to modern times. Like a detective in pursuit of an elusive adversary, Andersen investigates the myriad stories and legends that have come to define this ‘dream factory.' With extensive research, and an abundance of clips, anecdotes and analysis, he adroitly peels back layers of fiction to reveal the real city and the actual lives of its denizens beneath the glaring lights.

    Newly remastered, Los Angeles Plays Itself is an extraordinary cinematic achievement, a documentary unlike any that has come before or since.

    Subjects & Collections

    Festivals & Awards

    * Winner, Best of Show (Best Feature Film), National Media Market, 2014


    "The best documentary ever made about Los Angeles." —Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

    "A veritably encyclopedic tract, it grapples with subsidiary subjects as diverse as the reverberations of the Watts uprising, fake movie phone numbers, and, in one of the more memorable passages, Hollywood's sustained ideological war against the reputation of modernist architecture…As criticism, the film is perceptive, persuasive, even educational. As cinema, it's something more: one of the great films of the century to date, poignant and affecting." —Calum Marsh, Village Voice

    "Absorbing and revelatory, this is film criticism of the highest order." —Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader

    "A manifesto as well as a monument…an essay in film form with near-universal interest and a remarkable degree of synthesis." —J Hoberman, Village Voice

    "Los Angeles may be the most photographed city in the world, but it may never have been captured with such complex layers of meaning and fascination as in Thom Andersen's remarkable Los Angeles Plays Itself. The wealth of film clips will make cinephiles feel they've gone to heaven." —Robert Koehler, Variety

    "Smart, critical, and eloquent…an elegant meditation on the history of city cinema." —Roy Grundman, Cineaste

    "Encyclopedic, idiosyncratic, and visually overwhelming, Los Angeles Plays Itself offers a refutation of the persistent mythologizing of Los Angeles." —Mary Rizzo, The Public Historian

    "Highly Recommended . Part film criticism, part urban geography guide, Andersen’s multilayered video essay is sardonically narrated by writer Encke King and considers not only the film industry but also public transportation, housing discrimination, racism, and police brutality. Although familiar titles such as Chinatown (1974) and L.A. Confidential (1997) are discussed in some detail, it is very short clips of unfamiliar, small, low-budget films that are most captivating." —Educational Media Reviews Online

    " A good aid for understanding cultural representation in film. A must for film studies majors and film studies collection libraries."Anthropology Review Database


    Related Films

    A fascinating investigation into the work of photographer and cinema pioneer Eadweard Muybridge, Thom Andersen’s (Los Angeles Plays Itself, Red Hollywood, Reconversao) much-lauded documentary incorporates a biographical overview of its subject with a re-animation of his historic sequential photographs as well as concise and innovative analysis.

    A master of the essay film, Thom Andersen (Los Angeles Plays Itself, Red Hollywood) surveys the work of Portuguese architect Eduardo Souto de Moura - winner of his profession's highest honor, the Pritzker Prize - whose astonishing, often-controversial projects embrace decay, the passage of time, local history, and nature.

    A revelatory documentary by Thom Andersen (Los Angeles Plays Itself) and film critic Noel Burch, Red Hollywood, which has been remastered and re-edited, 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.

    A documentary cult classic, Cinemania is an affectionate portrait of five obsessive filmgoers whose voracious appetite for film has consumed everything else in their lives. A fascinating look at the roots of film-addiction, Cinemania is an irresistible and hilarious ode to cinephilia for the ages

    Discount on films by Thom Andersen

    Includes: Eadweard Muybridge, Red Hollywood, Los Angeles Plays Itself, and Reconversão
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