Looking Back at L.A.
Institute of the Arts and longtime L.A. resident, dissects the way the city has been filmed as a background, a character, and a subject itself. Andersen's exhaustive knowledge of the city and complex affection for it imbue the picture with character and true insight. He loathes the way movies portray L.A. as a town devoted solely to the entertainment industry, the way they abbreviate its geography and even the way they abbreviate the city's name itself. (He theorizes that the "L.A." handle originated in, and was popularized by, the movies.)
Andersen illustrates his essay with clips from hundreds of different L.A.-set films, from Double Indemnity to Who Framed Roger Rabbit? to Blade Runner. Although it's an excellent creative choice, it's also placed the film in an odd limbo since Andersen completed it in 2003. Because of the thicket of copyright issues surrounding the many excerpts, Los Angeles Plays Itself has never seen commercial release (although it is available to stream on YouTube). Andersen will be present for the film's screening on March 29, as part of a festival-long retrospective of his work.