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in Filmmaking
on Aug 27, 2006

Over at Movie City Indie, Ray Pride tips this L.A. Times piece by James Ellroy in which the noir author ruminates on his flight from and return to Los Angeles, the city that has inspired so many of his novels. With Brian DePalma’s adaptation of The Black Dahlia (pictured) just a few weeks away, Ellroy sketches the psychic landscape of the city while discussing emotional and mental breakdowns, literary mania, and general sleeplessness.

From the piece:

L.A. bids pundits to spin epigrams. W.H. Auden called L.A. “The Great Wrong Place.” I’ll ascribe intent. Auden saw L.A. as a lodestone for opportunists and psychically maimed misfits. I sense this because I fall into both categories. Auden couched L.A. in a film-noir construction. Losers migrated here to start over and become someone else. L.A. was a magnet for lives in desperate duress. The sheer indifference of the place consumed the migrants and drove them mad. They succumbed to madness in a sexy locale. The place itself provided solace and recompense. They had the comfort of other arriviste losers. They entered the L.A. spiritus mundi. They handed out their head shots. They joined that unique L.A. casting call.

For picaresque grifters, dollar-driven D.A.s, well-hung gigolos, hollow-eyed strumpets, hophead jazz musicians, pervert cops, alcoholic private eyes, sadistic studio heads, laudanum-lapping layabouts, homosexual informants, religious quacks and an uncategorizable array of stupes with indefinable psychopathic mandates and plain inconsolable despair.

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