Best Movies by Farr
Los Angeles Plays Itself Poster
Released Runtime Category
2003 170 Documentary
Director Language
Thom Andersen English
Encke King

Los Angeles Plays Itself

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What's it About

Writer/director Andersen explores the many ways the film capitol of Los Angeles has been portrayed in the movies. Whether as a backdrop or a character, the evolving cinematography of the city tells a story both historical and socio-ethnological. With a vast array of clips from studio films to independent features, his probing, analytical narration takes us on a journey from Bunker Hill to the Hollywood Hills, and most everywhere in between.

Why we love it

Unfolding like a gorgeous cinematic essay rather than your standard talking-heads documentary, Andersen’s first person take on his city is subjective, both damning and full of love. The narration, read by Encke King, evokes the world-weary voice-over of a 1950s noir, as if Andersen himself were the protagonist in a gumshoe investigation into a disappearing world. Exhibiting a dazzling fluency in the language of Los Angeles and of film, Andersen’s in-depth study is an enlightening, often mesmerizing visual treat — and a must for movie fans.

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BEST MOVIES BY FARR is your personal guide to great movies to rent, stream, or buy; to watch at home or on-the-go. Led by film advocate John Farr, the Best Movies by Farr team works as a "quality filter" for the discerning moviegoer. Every day, we bring you the best of the best, the fantastic familiar films and hidden gems, to answer that age-old question: "What should we watch tonight?"