RARA-AVIS: Theme of the month - Los Angeles

From: Mark Harris ( mark_r_harris@yahoo.com)
Date: 08 Sep 2001

Beyond Mike Davis's recent books, another volume that can provide a great prism for viewing fiction set in Los Angeles is Reyner Banham's scintillating 1971 study, Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies, which despite the somewhat forbidding title is thoroughly entertaining. Banham on Polynesian restaurant architecture is worth the price of admission!

I recall a critical volume on Los Angeles fiction that rightly devoted a whole chapter to Roman Polanski's Chinatown, which could well be the finest Los Angeles-based film not mainly about the film industry
(and is obviously one of the greatest hard-boiled films ever). In making water the key theme and symbol of that film, Polanski and screenwriter Robert Towne got L.A. just right.


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