The Myth and Romance of Los Angeles – Available at Last

What is ostensibly the best documentary on the City of Los Angeles (and a 95/90 Tomatometer) has at long last, been scheduled to be released on DVD. If you had not heard of the film, there is this, and little else according to IMDB,

In this documentary, Thom Andersen examines in detail the ways the city has been depicted, both when it is meant to be anonymous and when itself is the focus. Along the way, he illustrates his concerns of how the real city and its people are misrepresented and distorted through the prism of popular film culture. Furthermore, he also chronicles the real stories of the city’s modern history behind the notorious accounts of the great conspiracies that ravaged his city that reveal a more open and yet darker past than the casual viewer would suspect.

In addition to being an excellent descriptive paragraph, that’s the kind of stuff myth is made of.

But what is really driving the cult status is the film’s elusive nature as noted in a post today:

Los Angeles Plays Itself is a story of how L.A. has been portrayed on screen, its thesis unfolding through hundreds of iconic film clips. But the biggest reason that Thom Andersen’s legendary documentary has reached a near-cult status is that, due to copyright issues, the film has never been properly released in theaters or on DVD. Until now.

In a remarkable statement, the post goes on to punctuate just how interesting this film is, “it’s probably the most important media study ever conducted on the city—maybe any city!—and no one has been able to see it.” It’s remarkable that business and legal wranglings could eclipse something like this, for a decade.


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