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The Dreamers of 'La La Land'

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With apologies to Pauline Kael: how do you make a happy movie in America without being jumped on? Either America has forgotten how to make uplifting films so deeply that a work like La La Land is, despite its uplifting façade, only a symptom of this malaise, or we have forgotten how to critically appraise such films without competing for the deepest and hardest cuts. Or maybe both. Such a form of memory loss is certainly appropriate for a film that takes a dreamy, old-fashioned nickname for Los Angeles as its title: 'La-La Land', a dismissive, half-joking swipe at a part of America that might seem to enjoy existing in another state of mind. Los Angeles itself, as argued by Norman Klein, is in a constant state of forgetting: for the city 'was imagined long before it was built,' while 'the final version was a whitewash, or the conciliation, the ad that went public'.

About Senses of Cinema:

Senses of Cinema is an online journal devoted to the serious and eclectic discussion of cinema. We believe cinema is an art that can take many forms, from the industrially-produced blockbuster to the hand-crafted experimental work; we also aim to encourage awareness of the histories of such diverse forms. As an Australian-based journal, we have a special commitment to the regular, wide-ranging analysis and critique of Australian cinema, past and present. Senses of Cinema is primarily concerned with ideas about particular films or bodies of work, but also with the regimes (ideological, economic and so forth) under which films are produced and viewed, and with the more abstract theoretical and philosophical issues raised by film study.

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