The City in Cinema

What building most clearly signifies Los Angeles? In a built environment with few easily legible architectural icons, the Bonaventure Hotel has come to stand for the city as no other building does. Since opening in 1976, John C. Portman Jr.’s quintet of reflective cylindrical towers atop a stark concrete base has played in urban Los Angeles films not just an incidental if striking piece of background detail, but a piece of visual shorthand for Los Angeles (or its destruction), an ominous space for illicit dealings, a stop on or pathway for a chase, a convergence point for a final showdown, or even a part of completely different cities or realities. And like Los Angeles itself, filmmakers frequently exploit certain of the Bonaventure's features, or even invent ones that don't exist, while ignoring its other qualities entirely.

The video essays of "Los Angeles, the City in Cinema" examine the variety of Los Angeleses revealed in the films set there, both those new and old, mainstream and obscure, respectable and schlocky, appealing and unappealing — just like the city itself.

For more on "The City in Cinema", "Notebook on Cities and Culture", and "A Los Angeles Primer", visit colinmarshall.org

Films featured:

The Driver (Walter Hill, 1978)
Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (Daniel Haller, 1979)
Midnight Madness (Michael Nankin and David Wechter, 1980)
Blue Thunder (John Badham, 1983)
Breathless (Jim McBride, 1983)
Night of the Comet (Thom Eberhardt, 1984)
This is Spinal Tap (Rob Reiner, 1984)
Rain Man (Barry Levinson, 1988)
Lethal Weapon 2 (Richard Donner, 1989)
Hard to Kill (Bruce Malmuth, 1990)
In the Line of Fire (Wolfgang Petersen, 1993)
True Lies (James Cameron, 1994)
Forget Paris (Billy Crystal, 1995)
Heat (Michael Mann, 1995)
Nick of Time (John Badham, 1995)
Strange Days (Kathryn Bigelow, 1995)
Escape from LA (John Carpenter, 1996)
Playing God (Andy Wilson, 1997)
Epicenter (Richard Pepin, 2000)
Swordfish (Dominic Sena, 2001)
Showtime (Tom Dey, 2002)
Wonderland (James Cox, 2003)
Mission: Impossible 3 (J.J. Abrams, 2006)
Hancock (Peter Berg, 2008)
State of Play (Kevin Macdonald, 2009)
The Dark Knight Rises (Christopher Nolan, 2012)
Interstellar (Christopher Nolan, 2014)

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The City in Cinema

Colin Marshall Plus

The video essays of "Los Angeles, the City in Cinema" examine the variety of Los Angeleses revealed in the films set there, both those new and old, mainstream and obscure, respectable and schlocky, appealing and unappealing — just like the city itself.

For…


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The video essays of "Los Angeles, the City in Cinema" examine the variety of Los Angeleses revealed in the films set there, both those new and old, mainstream and obscure, respectable and schlocky, appealing and unappealing — just like the city itself.

For more on "The City in Cinema", "Notebook on Cities and Culture", and "A Los Angeles Primer" visit colinmarshall.org

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  • Riccardo Uras

    IN & OUT
    vimeo.com/143491754
    A digital short that derives from the union of passion/obsession between Photography, Videography and Surfing
    Shoot with Blackmagic Digital Cinema Camera (bmpcc)
    Sardinia, ITALY

    by Riccardo Uras

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