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Essay L.A.

May 31 — Jun 2, 2019

Six programs of essay and collage films explore the terrain and spatial imagination of Los Angeles. Featuring genre-defining works like Thom Andersen’s Los Angeles Plays Itself, alongside filmic anomalies such as Pat O’Neill’s virtuosic document of timescale and landscape trauma Water and Power, the program posits Los Angeles as a space for free-association.

The city’s most apparent features, its horizontality and de-centered patchiness, seem to invite acts of sorting and collation. The region’s contiguousness to Hollywood and its deployment as a set of portals to other places suggest that its material surfaces may in fact give way to any possibility. From architectural reveries by foreign admirers to personal constellations assembled from celluloid scraps, the filmmakers in the program, many of whom have worked intermittently in other facets of the film industry, are found here sifting through leftovers, as though searching for meanings or even miracles that might have been accidentally overlooked. —Courtney Stephens

Organized by guest curator Courtney Stephens