Venturing from Venice Beach to Watts, Varda looks at the murals of Los Angeles as backdrop to and mirror of the city’s many cultures. She casts a curious eye on graffiti and photorealism, roller disco and gang violence, evangelical Christians, Hare Krishnas, artists, angels, and ordinary Angelenos. Along the meandering way, we meet the creators of some of California’s most memorable wall art, including Judy Baca, mastermind of the Great Wall of Los Angeles project along the L.A. River; Arno Jordan, painter of the ironically bucolic scenes adorning the Farmer John meatpacking plant; and Kent Twitchell, who offers a theological rationale for a depiction of the Holy Trinity starring actors from Lassie, The Lone Ranger, and Father Knows Best. The film is very Varda and very L.A.: vibrating with color and surprising juxtapositions, rich in illusion and allusion. And like the movies, the murals are both monumental and ephemeral, destined to fade, many of them now disappeared. —Pacific Film Archive
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