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Indirect Documentaries: Art of the Real 2016

  • MUBI
Engram of ReturningThe selection at this year’s installation of the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Art of the Real film festival, an annual showcase dedicated to conveying the spectrum of nonfiction filmmaking, are an intriguing bunch culled from a variety of seemingly opposing cultures, yet still exhibiting a fascination with interrogating the past. That this fixation is explored through a miscellany of aesthetic methods is only testament to the veracity of the festival’s undertaking.As this year’s sidebar retrospective of avant-garde giant Bruce Baillie’s work evinces, the nuances and vagaries of the term ‘“nonfiction” allow for fruitful pairings of works that continue the lineage of the abstract, non-narrative work that comes to define our idea of the American avant-garde with those of more familiar documentary tendencies. Daïchi Saïto’s superlative Engram of Returning, playing as part of the second shorts program,is certainly the film
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Not a Deleuze Lecture, but What? Thom Andersen’s The Thoughts That Once We Had

I’ve heard many mistake the voiceover in Los Angeles Plays Itself as belonging to its writer-director Thom Andersen when it’s actually Encke King. A fair assumption — King speaks in a first person voiceover in a rather curmudgeonly monotone, fitting for the film’s occasionally cantankerous examination of the relationship between the physical spaces of Los Angeles and the way Hollywood films have portrayed them. The real Andersen is a more elusive character. His voice is more casual but less direct, his articulated knowledge of his own projects is tempered, bouncing around a given topic than directly addressing it. He pauses […]
See full article at Filmmaker Magazine_Director Interviews »

Not a Deleuze Lecture, but What? Thom Andersen’s The Thoughts That Once We Had

I’ve heard many mistake the voiceover in Los Angeles Plays Itself as belonging to its writer-director Thom Andersen when it’s actually Encke King. A fair assumption — King speaks in a first person voiceover in a rather curmudgeonly monotone, fitting for the film’s occasionally cantankerous examination of the relationship between the physical spaces of Los Angeles and the way Hollywood films have portrayed them. The real Andersen is a more elusive character. His voice is more casual but less direct, his articulated knowledge of his own projects is tempered, bouncing around a given topic than directly addressing it. He pauses […]
See full article at Filmmaker Magazine »

‘Los Angeles Plays Itself’ a mastery of visual essay and love letter to cinema’s greatest city

Los Angeles Plays Itself

Written and directed by Thom Andersen

USA, 2003

It comes as no surprise that film sets and locations have been reused throughout the history of the movies. The fact that many of these locations are within or around Los Angeles, a city whose very ontology includes Hollywood and film business, is equally predictable. Yet these locations, distorted to us through the magic of movie production and narrative engagement, hold significant value to the residents of Los Angeles, particularly California Institute of the Arts film instructor Thom Andersen, using what he saw as the denigration of his beloved city on screen to begin a lecture and, ultimately, a film: Los Angeles Plays Itself. “I live here,” he begins his narration through Encke King over a series of establishing shots of the city from various films. “Sometimes I think this gives me the right to criticize the ways movies depict my city.
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