‘Los Angeles Plays Itself’ retains its brilliant sting


There are many reasons to cherish “Los Angeles Plays Itself,” though mine are more sentimental than most. My wife and I went on our first date 10 years ago to see Thom Andersen’s brilliantly indignant 2003 essay film during one of its always-welcome revivals by the American Cinematheque. For a film critic and an urban planner still learning to love each other and their home city, this sprawling 170-minute magnum opus — a definitive statement about how the movies have distorted our perceptions of this city’s architectural, cultural and historical identity — was a most auspicious beginning.

Remastered in HD and slightly re-edited by Andersen in 2013, “Los Angeles Plays Itself” is no longer as difficult to see as it once was: Long bedeviled by copyright issues over its thousands of film clips, it’s been available in handsome Blu-ray and DVD editions since 2014. Which is no reason to pass up the chance to see the film on the big screen, in all its sprawling, cantankerous glory. It shows 7:30 p.m. Sunday at the Aero Theater, with a discussion with Andersen to follow.


‘Los Angeles Plays Itself’


Where: Aero Theater, 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica

When: Sunday, Sept. 4, 7:30 p.m.

Tickets: $11 ($7 for American Cinematheque members)


See the most-read stories in Entertainment this hour »

Movie Trailers