Insiders & Exiles
Curated by Sally Berger

The Exiles by Kent Mackenzie. Still image courtesy of Milestone Film & Video. 
Insiders and Exiles: Realism and Reality in Los Angeles Plays Itself and The Exiles

Thom Andersen’s film essay, Los Angeles Plays Itself (2003/2013) reflects on the way the city of Los Angeles, in particular its architecture and cityscape, has been depicted in cinema. With scenes from numerous Hollywood and independent films, original 16mm footage of Los Angeles (shot by Deborah Stratman), and Andersen’s narration (spoken by Encke King), the film captures the imaginary of the cinema alongside an evocation of the lived experience of residents of Los Angeles. For cinephiles or non-, every moment of this 169-minute film is captivating, providing glimpses into how architecture and movies impact and shape us. 

While researching for footage of the Bunker Hill neighborhood of Los Angeles for his film, Andersen discovered a long forgotten other film, The Exiles (1961/2009) by Kent Mackenzie. Its story is based on the lives of Native Americans who moved to Los Angeles in the 1940s and ‘50s after leaving their reservations to seek better opportunities. While a student at the University of Southern California (USC), Department of Cinema, around the same time (in the 1950s), Mackenzie interviewed and collaborated with the young adult Native Americans to make a film. 

Mackenzie chose to focus on the quotidian experiences, rather than the less common – extreme positive or negative -- outcomes for the Native Americans that he met. The story was tightly scripted to conserve on film stock and interviews of the three main characters were played on the sound track as internal reflections over their actions on the screen. 

The film was shot in the afternoons and at night, when the production team had access to equipment. The beautiful black and white cinematography (by Erik Daarstad, Robert Kaufman, and John Morrill) reveals the soft and gritty edges of young lives spent hanging out, flirting, drinking, and gambling in the twilight and dense midnight-to-dawn in Bunker Hill or the surrounding landscapes of Los Angeles. 

Mackenzie considered The Exiles a documentary, yet the film evokes a hybridity of styles: the re-enactments of Flaherty (Nanook of the North, 1922); the improvisational realism of Cassavetes (Shadows, 1959); and its own form of documentary gravitas. Los Angeles Plays Itself and The Exiles challenge us to consider anew cinema in its relationship to the lived experience and to realism, to history and the realities of the present moment.

- Sally Berger, Film and Media curator; Fellow, Center for Media, Culture and History, NYU


October 11, 2018

Food and drinks (by Soniya Sjöberg)
4:30 – 6:00

Room One (informal seating)
Los Angeles Plays Itself. 2003/2013. USA. Thom Andersen. 169 min. 
Showtime: 2:45 - 5:50 p.m. (with a 15 minute intermission*)

Room two (35 fixed seats)
The Exiles. 1961/2009    . USA. Kent Mackenzie. 72.46 min. 
Showtime: 6:00 – 7:15 p.m. 

Discussion and Q&A
Santiago Mostyn, Fredrik Gertten, Kali Nikitas, Richard Shelton
in conversation with Sally Berger

7:15 – 8:00 p.m. 

*Intermission starts at 4:20 p.m. Late entrance is allowed.

Los Angeles Plays Itself  by Thom Andersen. Still image courtesy of Thom Andersen and LUX, London. 














OCTOBER 11, 2019 at OBRA

First screening of Los Angeles Plays Itself  by Thom Andersen.

↑ Malmö based filmmaker Fredrik Gertten, artist Santiago Mostyn, educator Kali Nikitas and graphic designer and educator Richard Shelton introduced by Sally Berger.

↑ Screening of The Exiles (1961) by Kent Mackenzie

↑ Conversation led by Sally Berger, Film and Media curator.

↑ Food by Soniya Sjöberg

↑ Educator and "curator of moments" Kali Nikitas.

↑ An engaged and focused audienced during the conversation and discussion about the films and their topics.

Stora Varvsgatan 12-14  +46 72 720 6633   atelier(a)
Insiders & Exiles 2018.10.11 Curated by Sally Berger with contributions from Region Skåne.