I’m Not a Building, But I Play One on T.V.

“Los Angeles Plays Itself,” is a new documentary examining the manner in which Los Angeles portrays itself in movies. According to Chris Hall, who reviews the film for Building Design Online, director Thom Anderson, “knows and cares about LA’s built environment, from art deco skyscrapers and the international style to Spanish colonial villas and modernist apartments cantilevered over the Hollywood Hills.” Included in the film is an examination of an idea I’ve always pondered: why modernist buildings are always the residence of evil criminal masterminds. The film questions the authenticity of the city; the reality of Los Angeles vs. the fantasy Los Angeles, and considers architecture “not as backdrop, but as character.”

oh…I’ve just done a little “research”, and found that the movie was initially released in 2003. It sounds like it raises a lot of compelling issues. Has anyone out there seen it?

3 replies on “I’m Not a Building, But I Play One on T.V.”

where is this playing? when is it out on video? i’m a los angelino and have heard nothing about it, and info on the web is scarce. i’d love to see it.

i live in los angeles and saw the film at a screening at the american cinemateque. the film is packed with obscure film clips which i understand will prevent it from ever being released, as they are often very expensive and difficult to clear. the film does an effective job showing the evolution of the city through the use of the various film clips, an particulally vivid example being the metamorphosis of bunker hill in downtown la. the film shows how iconic structures such the bradbury building and the ennis-brown house have been featured movies, tv shows and commercials over the years and how sections of the city easily double for other places like chicago and new york. the film is woven together with what i found to be a rather snarky narration and it tends to meander to and fro without making much of a point about anything. then from what i remember of the ending, it suddenly becomes a diatribe on the plight of the african-american working class that has nothing to do with anything that preceeded it. over all, the movie is not satisfying but is interesting nonetheless.

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