November 2, 2012

The whole city is haunted by an imaginary past




Dream double bill: Mock Up on Mu (2008) and Southland Tales (2006).

California’s apocalyptic state. Revelations via entertainment and entertainment via revelations. Paranoid style. In both cases, sprawl and maddening overload.

That sentence – “The whole city is haunted by an imaginary past” – comes from a footnote attached to J Hoberman’s review of the David Lynch film Inland Empire in Hoberman’s new Film After Film: Or, What Became Of 21st-Century Cinema? In the footnote, Hoberman is talking specifically about Thom Andersen’s cine-essay Los Angeles Plays Itself (like Mock Up on Mu, easily viewed in full on YouTube).

Spookily, you then turn the page and get this: “The desire to couple movies most likely derives from the Depression-era gimmick of the double feature.” That leads into a discussion of Douglas Gordon’s Between Darkness and Light (After William Blake), an artwork in which The Exorcist and The Song of Bernadette are screened at the same time. Dream double bill ...