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Show notes for Los Angeles, Symphonies of a City:

Opening segment on city symphony films:

Manhatta (1921, Paul Strand and Charles Sheeler)

Berlin, Symphony of Great City (1927, Walter Ruttman)

Regen / Rain (1929, Joris Ivens)

Part 1. Symphony of a Los Symphony

John Bengtson has written several books (Silent Echoes, Silent Traces, Silent Visions) and an expansive blog (https://silentlocations.com/author/johnbengtson/) about discovering shooting locations of silent era films.

Clips from the Symphony of a Lost City pieces came from numerous period films and archive materials. Special Thanks:

“Construction of Los Angeles City Hall” Courtesy of the Newcomb Condee Collection at the Academy Film Archive

“Tour of the Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Company” Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Company Records (Collection 1434). Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA.

“Hollywood Movieland of the World” Courtesy of UCLA Film & Television Archive

Getty Images

Prelinger Archives. https://archive.org/details/prelinger

The music was from Timothy Brock’s score for Modern Times (Timothy Brock). Also the original score from Sunrise

Part 2: A Tale of Two Cities

Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner. Paul M. Sammon.

Film Architecture: From Metropolis to Blade Runner. Ed. Dietrich Neumann

LAist magazine conducted an oral history (https://laist.com/news/entertainment/blade-runner-november-2019-los-angeles-future-is-here) of Blade Runner:

American Cinematographer article (https://ascmag.com/articles/blade-runner-set-design) on the design elements

Part 3: Summer in the City

Summertime will be released July 9th – information can be found here.


The book of poetry that accompanies the films can be found here.



If you enjoyed this program check out these programs and resources



Play It As Long As It Lays, Joan Didion
Sudden Rain, Maritta Wolff
Slow Days, Fast Company, by Eve Babitz
Lithium for Medea, Kate Braverman
Video Green: Los Angeles Art and The Triumph of Nothingness,  Chris Kraus
Hollywood Notebook, Wendy Ortiz
Dead Boys, Richard Lange
Counter Intelligence: Where to Eat in the Real Los Angeles, Jonathan Gold
Poetry Los Angeles: Reading the Essential Poems of the City, Laurence Goldstein
Wide Awake: Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond, Edited by Suzzane Lummis

Although the tradition of the ‘city symphony’ film is generally tied to silent movies of the 1920’s, filmmakers never really stopped making them or creatively re-imagining the form. As a result, we have countless ways to think about movies as ‘ode’ to a city, explorations of a city as a character.

So we take closer look at film’s cinematic odes to Los Angeles, from silent films of the past to musicals of the present to visions of the future (both bright and bleak). LA’s rhythms also emerge through the rock doc chronicles of its music history and in such a fresh way through Carlos Lopez Estrada’s fabulous upcoming film and accompanying book, Summertime, a formally free-styling ode to every corner of Los Angeles through the vibrant, evocative spoken-word poetry of its young cast.

Lost & Found at the Movies is generously supported by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association

John Nein

John Nein is a Senior Programmer at the Sundance Film Festival and deals primarily with U.S. and international feature films. He also plans the festival’s panels and runs the Institute’s film preservation initiative. John grew up in Europe and the U.S., studied history at Carleton College, and earned his MFA from UCLA’s Film Directing program, where he made several award-winning shorts and lobbied tirelessly for better coffee in the vending machines.

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