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Documenting CityscapesUrban Change in Contemporary Non-Fiction Film$
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Iván Villarmea Álvarez

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231174534

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231174534.001.0001

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Inside Hollywood Film

Inside Hollywood Film

(p.185) Chapter Nine Inside Hollywood Film
Documenting Cityscapes

Iván Villarmea Álvarez

Columbia University Press

This chapter analyses the metafilmic strategies of two titles focused on the way Hollywood has historically represented the city of Los Angeles. The first, Pat O'Neill's The Decay of Fiction (2002), is an avant-garde work that documents the last days of a symbolic place, the Ambassador Hotel, by means of a series of fictional reenactments inspired by film noir. The second, Thom Andersen's Los Angeles Plays Itself (2003), is a metafilm essay composed of more than two hundred excerpts from other films that reflects on mainstream cinema's politics of representation. Both works explore the commonplaces of what Rafael Pizarro has termed “the Hollywood Urban Imaginarium”, challenging its visual monopoly from the margins of film industry. The outcome of these two experiments is an ambiguous celebration of the cinematic city that cleverly warns against its systematic tendency towards fakeness and oblivion.

Keywords:   The Decay of Fiction, Los Angeles Plays Itself, metafilmic strategies, Hollywood, Los Angeles, Hollywood Urban Imaginarium, film industry, cinematic city

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