In his cinematic essay Los Angeles Plays Itself, filmmaker and Cal Arts professor Thom Andersen tries to correct the false images of the city he says are created by L.A. Confidential and the film noir genre. Variety critic Scott Foundas writes Sunday in the New York Times that Andersen's film is "driven by the feeling that movies have largely betrayed the character of his adopted hometown. It is an attempt to reclaim the real from the reel, if you will..."
What really riles Mr. Andersen is the tendency of Los Angeles-set films to depict a mostly Caucasian city — there is hardly a black or Latino or Asian face to be found in "L.A. Confidential" — where everybody lives at the beach or in Beverly Hills, where nobody takes public transportation and where everybody is (or is trying to become) a part of "the industry."
Well, other than all those scenes shot in a black neighborhood, and the kids in the police station. Andersen really doesn't like L.A. Confidential, one of his objections being the title abbreviation, which he calls a perjorative he avoids. Last year in the LAT, he said that the 1998 cartoon Who Framed Roger Rabbit got closer to the real L.A. (oops, Los Angeles) than films like Chinatown.
* Party time: LA.com is sponsoring a screening of the film and discussion with the director on Sept. 9 at the Egyptian Theatre. On the site's blog, editor Laurie Pike also predicts a front page trend story in the NYT about silly string, now that Los Angeles is banning it. (She has also commented over there on this post.)