Los Angeles Plays Itself (2003)
A video essay by Thom Anderson about how movies have portrayed the city of Los Angeles. Carefully weaving together footage from dozens of films made in or about the city, Anderson gradually builds his thesis about how Hollywood has represented, and misrepresented, its home town. Movies about Los Angeles have been, for the most part, period films, set in the past or in the future, and they replace the public history of the city with a secret history, opaque to its citizens This urban legen is not innocent. It serves to dissuade native viewers from political engagement by telling them that they are condemned to ignorance and powerlessness, not matter what they do. In fact,the truth is the opposite: the public history is the real history, as the treatments of films such as Chinatown, Who Framed Roger Rabbit and L.A. Confidential demonstrate.

This film is part of a programme curated by Martijn van Boven.