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AT THE MOVIES

Critic's Pick

'Los Angeles Plays Itself'

September 11, 2008|Kenneth Turan

A rare chance to catch Thom Andersen's exceptional documentary, a 2-hour-and-49-minute essay/meditation and labor of love on how this city has been depicted on the screen. Smart, insightful, unapologetically idiosyncratic and bristling with provocative ideas, "Los Angeles" serves up segments from more than 200 films, from 1913's "A Muddy Romance" to "Chinatown" and beyond. Brilliantly discursive and filled with intriguing detours, it concurs with the narrator in Jacques Demy's "Model Shop," who says, "It's a fabulous city. To think some people claim it's an ugly city when it's really pure poetry, it just kills me." Screening on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the American Cinematheque's Aero Theater on Montana Avenue in Santa Monica.

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