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Los Angeles on Film: A City of Dreams and Nightmares

Los Angeles—the home to Hollywood, the studio system, and the dreams of millions of Americans—was quite literally a city that defined the “boomtown” in America: by the middle of the 20th century, its suburban sprawl and maze of highways were expanding ceaselessly. In film, LA is often a city of dreams—but ones that may very well morph into nightmares. It’s a city that can make dreams come true, but it’s also a city that can easily crush them. It’s been depicted as everything from a quintessential film noir town to a dystopian science fiction landscape. This class will explore LA as it has been depicted on film—both lovingly and harshly, its history and the history of its very depiction on the screen. We will discuss the films screened from multiple angles, considering possible historical, social, and political meanings. Screenings may include Sunset Boulevard, Chinatown, Mulholland Drive, LA Story, The Big Lebowski, Falling Down, LA Confidential, A Better Life, Boyz n the Hood, and Blade Runner.

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You'll Walk Away with

  • Increased cultural literacy
  • An understanding of the various ways that Los Angeles has been depicted on film

Ideal for

  • All members of the community—working, retired, and in between
  • Professionals who use critical thinking
NO open sections available for this course at the moment. Please check back next semester.