What I’ve Been Watching: Los Angeles Plays Itself

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los-angeles-plays-itselfThis isn’t the gay porn movie from which the film takes its title, but rather the recent documentary about filmic portrayals of Los Angeles. Fans of Mike Davis will love this, as will those interested in cultural studies and Los Angeles/Hollywood history.

The overall argument was fairly solidly constructed, if a little arch (is it really so shocking that films would portray a version of Los Angeles that doesn’t actually exist?), but my favorite part was the cutting between how films have used L.A. locations and then showing what they really looked like, either at the time of filming or today. Getting that sort of glimpse into the quotidian, but meaningfully detailed, life of a city in the past is always fascinating to me.

It’s also a great film for those interested in films made outside the studio system, especially by non-white directors, long before the rise of “independent” films.

It’s long, but you can watch it over a few days and not lose much of the effect.

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