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Los Angeles, the City in Cinema: Model Shop (Jacques Demy, 1969)

By the late 1960s, some Angelenos had already written their city off. But the European filmmakers who’d only just started to find material there hadn’t; Jacques Demy, for instance, still found Los Angeles a place of sun, sky, youth, cars, and, given the era, counterculture — a place of pure potential. Model Shop, an early cinematic act of Los Angeles appreciation, follows the feckless, almost parodically automobilized adventures of an unemployed San Franciscan architecture school graduate who, his life having fallen apart and the threat of the draft looming, becomes obsessed with a mysterious Frenchwoman in white he encounters at a parking lot.

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.

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