30 April 2009

London Plays Itself

Speaking of Los Angeles [see previous post] ... with inevitable logic for the home of the film industry, in 2003 it starred in its own film: the superb Los Angeles Plays Itself.

The film is generally called a documentary, but it's really an authentic example of a rare genre: the visual essay. It is edited together entirely from other films, and these quotes are the illustrations and evidence for Thom Andersen's eponymous essay which is narrated over the clips.

Andersen analyzes the uses to which L.A.'s built environment has been put in film, and, with particular brilliance, the way certain strands of its architecture have been characterized by these uses. As in this clip, where he unpacks the anti-modernist subtext that can be found in the tendency for all L.A.-based villains to live in landmark modernist homes:

The amoral antihumanist swine! Pretty Hatherleyesque. Perhaps the author of Militant Modernism and co-curator of Kino Fist could look into making a London Plays Itself...

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