NARRATOR: In this program, Thom Andersen will be screening Los Angeles Plays Itself—a 2003 film about the way the city appears in movies—and Get out of the Car from 2010.
THOM ANDERSEN: When I made Los Angeles Plays Itself I called it a “city symphony in reverse.” That is it was composed not of images of the city but of other movies about the city. So I thought I would try to make a movie that was composed of images of the city.
People who are used to seeing Hollywood movies or so-called indie movies might see it differently. You have to remember that the white population or the Anglo population of Los Angeles is only 27% of the population. So when you start to think that in just about every one of these movies set in Los Angeles that’s the only part of the city you see, obviously the image of the city that you see in movies is very provincial and distorted.
The title of the movie comes from a Richard Barry song. Richard Barry was a rhythm and blues singer in Los Angeles in the 1950s. Of course it also has another meaning. Since the images are all static shots made from a tripod, they weren’t the sort that could be made from a moving car or really even a standing still car.
I guess I was trying to make a movie with the simplest of cinematic means. There’s also very little movement within the shots. So the main movement in the movie occurs in the relationship between the sound and image. And the movement in the soundtrack rather than the image track.