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'Los Angeles Plays Itself' screens at the Aero

Thom Andersen's exceptional documentary details the City of Angels' long role in motion pictures. The director himself will be on hand Sunday.

September 03, 2009|Kenneth Turan

One of the best films ever made about Los Angeles is also one of the hardest to see, so it's a pleasure to report that Thom Andersen's exceptional documentary, a two hour and 49 minute essay-meditation and labor of love on how this city has been depicted on the screen, is showing this weekend. 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 finally agrees 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." Saturday and Sunday (with director Andersen appearing Sunday) at 7:30 p.m. at the American Cinematheque's Aero Theatre in Santa Monica.

-- Kenneth Turan

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