Monday, September 21, 2015


Sunday, September 6, the Aero screened a consistent favorite: the documentary Los Angeles Plays Itself.  Director and narrator Thom Andersen was on hand to talk about the film, which discusses the depiction of the Los Angeles in movies, and answer audience questions.

Andersen began by saying that this version has been reedited and remastered and is therefore a lot better than the original shown in Toronto in 2003, where most of the clips were from VHS.

The Q&A began with an audience member asking , “What made you want to make this movie?” “It was a reaction to LA Confidential," Andersen replied.  "It’s a silly film. Now I realize it’s more artful than I did originally.  It’s about the preaching of cynicism…that was the beginning, 1997.”

To the question “Did you write the essay first?” Andersen answered, “In some cases the narration came first. The image went longer than the text.  It’s a back and forth process, which is always the case with this kind of films, and all films.”

Asked if there were any films in particular that he was excited to include in his, Andersen said “Bush Mama, Gone in 60 Seconds, The Limey… I got a kick out of showing obscure films.”

Someone asked “Is there an abstract or subconscious theme in the clips?”“In the last part it was whimsical, I was having fun," said Andersen. The argument in the first part is how buildings were characters and how they were cast. This seems trivial but leads to more interesting ideas.”

Andersen explained that he both spent and made basically no money for the film. "But, it’s now streaming and available on Netflix, ITunes, Blu-Ray, and DVD," he added.

Andersen talked about the decline in movies made in Los Angeles.  Someone asked if there were any more recent films he would have included.  He said, “I would put more Latino, Chicano films in and I would’ve criticized Crash. It’s starting to take its lumps so that’s not necessary.”

Asked about video games, Andersen replied “I haven’t thought much about video games. I’m not a gamer.  Though I did play Pac-Man a little.  There are people who live in this movie world…I guess I’m a little like that, weird.”

Los Angeles Plays Itself plays regularly at the Cinematheque, and is available to view on the platforms listed above.