LA LA Land Shorts Program
LA LA Land
I have a complete unabashed self -indulgence for this city. Anyone and everyone who meets me discovers within the first 5 minutes my connection to LA. Like me, the city is a living paradox full of contradictions. It is the source of both great sorrow and enlightenment. It provides joy while simultaneously can eat your soul. This place built on illusions is the most real to me... an observer's paradise. A place that I love more than anywhere else in the world, yet impossible for me to live. A location with no "history" in a perpetual flux of reinvention. You can be anyone you want to be, the anonymity is dizzying liberation. A city where dreams come true daily while others live out their worst nightmares. The color of the twilight sky is like no other in the world and it is no wonder this is the film capital...the diffused light during the gloaming hour provides eternal contemplative bliss. In the words of the great Randy Newman..."I love L.A."! This compilation is nowhere near a complete survey of images and themes of the second largest city in the US and entertainment capital of the world...it is a launching point for discussion and also a valentine. The opening night film Strange Days is a perfect celebratory and critical near future vision of the pre Millennial era which themes are ever evolving today. I invite you to learn a bit more about LA through these films and I look forward to meeting anyone who would like to chat more!
Saturday May 26th 12:00 PM
8 euro/5 concession
Run Time 1hour 40min
Occupy Los Angeles
Dir. Henk Conn
LA LA Land Program
September 2011, on the social media of the time, there was a call to bring tents to the Los Angeles City Hall. The demonstrators were attempting to permanently occupy the front lawn. A few cameos
This short documentary creates a time capsule of a small part of the West Coast Occupy Movement. In a larger sense, the film endeavors to demonstrate that huge problems continue to exist in the world, and from one generation to the next, adopt different forms.
I was wondering if anyone remembers the Occupy movement and why was it so underwhelming? Will the current galvanized marchers keep their momentum in near future or will they fizzle out the way Occupy did?
And from a Brit perspective:
Celebrity guests and a surprisingly critical support piece in favour of a global movement for change.
Frankly the conclusion - that as the protesters sued the police for 2million - is treated as a victory when mass unemployment, homelessness and discrimination still have America in their grips just show how embarrassingly white and middle class it all was.
Dir. Phyllis Toben Bancroft (USA 2008) 16 min
Cheryl has fulfilled the American Girl Shop until you drop fantasy regardless of her means. Now this ambitious real estate agent is desperate to sell a house in order to stay afloat. Little do those around her know ...her ship has already sunk!
In my very first short programming gig ten years ago, I was struck by how well SPENT commented on the vast majority of Americans living beyond their means. No other country has credit debt problems to the extent we do. We maintain that veneer of having it all together when very much (as seen in EAT) people are living out of their cars and not eating because they choose to keep up with the Jones'. In fact very many of them must to pursue a career or job. Many people scream, "Why don't homeless people just get a job?" But how many employers truly hire someone that is unkempt? Has no address? Has only one set of skills? So often we address portrayals of the very poor, but there is a growing population of middle class that is one paycheck away from poverty. Being bombarded with temptation especially in places like Los Angeles and surrounded with the ideology of the "American Dream", the psychology of these representations should be met with more understanding. As I stated earlier, I can completely identify with these tales having lived it myself. I have made poor decisions regarding finance and choosing to maintain the illusion of having all together. It is survival in many cases. This short is even more relevant now than ten years ago as more and more American have lived beyond their means and are now waking up to the cruel reality that credit is just another term for ruin. This pay later mentality of the US is not sustainable and is finally crumbling. I wonder where the protagonist of Spent is today? "Living beyond our means" will be the Achilles heel of our culture.
Dir. by Pat O'Malley (USA 2018)
13 min Film Noir, Horror, Thriller
This Hollywood Horror story is a psychological thrill ride through the dark side of La La Land, where drugs blur the lines between reality and make believe, and competition turns fatal between friends.
Dir. Van Maximilian Carlson (USA 2013) 25 min 22s
A Troll, living under a bridge in modern day Los Angeles, falls in love with a human woman about to jump of the ledge.
I first came across this film while screening films for SIFF and what struck me was the allegory of so many individuals existing in LA (and cities across the world) in the main public's periphery. Every person we see (or don't see) has an individual story and the line at the end of the film, "I was here...I existed" ...really nails home a basic human organic need...to be recognized. Perhaps this is why the unfettered recording of inane moments on smart phones and need for validation on social media is an indicator of this. That people need purpose, even if it may seem superfluous. So yes critics may deem Takeshi Furukawa's score a bit heavy handed or the story sentimental... I find it interesting to look back at the beginning of this decade to the style of independent filmmaking and in hindsight look at those aesthetics signifying meaning in discourse on the zeitgeist. In a city where you almost have to harden your heart to survive...those who choose to maintain their humanity are really the winners at the end of the day. From my science fiction professor point of view: we once again ask what is the definition of humanity? Can a robot or non-homo sapien display humanity? In an age where AI is upon us, these are questions we must ask. Where I would argue that technology is becoming more human while humans are becoming more robot-like (or zombie like...look at everyone in public with noses down in their Smartphone seeking validation). So perhaps because being a child of the 70s and 80s, I love films like The Troll (in addition to it reminding me of the TV show with Linda Hamilton Beauty and the Beast) I think there is a place for films to remind us to feel emotion, to turn a kind eye to a stranger...to stimulate the imagination. The imagery of the famous Sixth Street Viaduct bridge in Grease, Fear of the Walking Dead, Terminator 2 and a whole other slew of iconic moments in LA, this piece looks at bridges as neither here nor there...like so many transient souls that exist among us that we never see. But like anyone else, their need to exist, to be remembered, to be recognized...is just as strong.
LAB 111 (View)
Arie Biemondstraat 111
Amsterdam 1054 PD