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VIDEO - Motion Studies #18: Los Angeles Plays Itself

Video
by Volker Pantenburg and Kevin B. Lee
April 12, 2012 9:16 AM
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From now through April, the Oberhausen International Short Film Festival will present "Film Studies in Motion", a Web Series curated by Volker Pantenburg and Kevin B. Lee. This series, available on the festival's website and Facebook page, presents weekly selections of analytical video essays on the web, in preparation for Pantenberg and Lee's presentation  "Whatever happened to Bildungsauftrag? – Teaching cinema on TV and the Web", scheduled for April 28 at the festival.

Week Four: Precursors: TV, Cinema, Contemporary Art

There is a a tradition of “Videographic Film Studies” that existed before the Internet. Some TV channels, like the West-German WDR, but also TV programmers in other countries, initiated an impressive variety of programmes on cinema that combined thorough analytical observations with an inventiveness of visual forms and techniques. Found footage has also been used in experimental cinema and contemporary art. Most examples of this audiovisual legacy remain either overlooked or invisible as they are stacked away in archives or private catalogues. For this reason, this episode mostly gathers fragments and snippets instead of entire essays.

Today's selection:

Los Angeles Plays Itself 
Thom Andersen (2003)

Thom Anderson's features Eadweard Muybridge, Zoopraxographer (1974), Red Hollywood (1996) and Los Angeles Plays Himself (2003) place him as a leading motion picture essayist and historian. Compiled from hundreds of clips from movies filmed in Los Angeles, Los Angeles Plays Itself explores the history, mythology and reality of Los Angeles as depicted in the movies. Originally intended as a private instructional tool for use in Andersen's lectures on film, the film was released theatrically and is frequently cited as one of the best documentaries of the 2000s.

View all Motion Studies video selections.

Volker Pantenburg is assistant professor for moving images at the media faculty of the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar. 

Kevin B. Lee is Editor in Chief of IndieWire’s PressPlay Video Blog and contributor to Roger Ebert.com. Follow him on Twitter.

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