Last April I caught an American Cinematheque screening of the original cut of Thom Andersen‘s L.A. Plays Itself (’03). I was happy to see it again, of course, but the visual quality was basically shit and it was of course dated by a decade. It reminded me that it was time for Andersen to deliver an updated, remastered version. That new version screened last night at the same venue. Here’s a Arts Meme mini-review by Robert Koehler. A make-up screening at the Aero would be nice. Or at least a chance to watch a DVD screener.

“Andersen’s new and improved version of his influential, paradigm-shifting and pretty damn funny essay film, Los Angeles Plays Itself, [is about] how the city has been used as both backdrop/stand-in location and as literally itself.

“At the time that I reviewed Andersen’s masterpiece for Variety ten years ago at its Toronto Film Festival world premiere, I noted while Los Angeles ‘may be the most photographed city in the world…it has never been captured with such complex layers of meaning and fascination…”

“The remastered version includes a replacement of nearly all of the film’s hundreds of sourced clips (switching out from videotape and laserdisc to DVD and Blu-ray), plus a few changes in the movie selected to illustrate Andersen’s ideas. Andersen has retouched a few other things, like the aspect ratio (it’s 16:9 now, rather than 4:3), shifting the intermission to the 92-minute mark, trimming and expanding a few scenes.

“At a new 170-minute running time, Andersen says ‘the whole thing is two or three minutes longer, but I hope it will seem shorter.'”