At a key moment in Damien Chazelle’s La La Land, Sebastian Wilder (Ryan Gosling), an aspiring jazz pianist, takes Mia Dolan (Emma Stone), an aspiring film actress, to a repertory screening of Rebel Without a Cause (Nicholas Ray, 1955). Astonished that Mia could live in Los Angeles without ever having seen Ray’s masterpiece, Sebastian guides her through the most important scenes before driving her up to Griffith Park for a re-enactment of the iconic observatory sequence. In this version, however, all the homosocial angst between James Dean and Sal Mineo is smoothed away and, in its place, we’re presented with the moment in Chazelle’s film at which Sebastian and Mia finally acknowledge their love for each other. In the process, the pessimism of Ray’s vision is replaced with a considerably cosier cosmos, as Sebastian and Mia dance around the telescope and gradually ascend into the air, where they commune with the galaxies before settling down to Earth once more. Although it is intended as a tribute, the sequence ends up robbing Rebel Without a Cause of much of what made it so provocative and edgy in the first place, canonising and sterilising it in the same breath.

If this sequence is anxious to canonise Rebel Without a Cause, it is just as anxious to canonise the Los Angeles cityscape – and the cinematic heritage of the Los Angeles cityscape. In like spirit, the critical reception to La La Land has tended to focus on Chazelle as a curator as much as a director, dwelling at length on the judiciousness of his cinematic quotations of the Los Angeles urban sprawl. Writing for The Hollywood Reporter, Todd McCarthy commended the way in which “the old Hollywood neighborhoods and establishments so selectively used here are meant to summon up meaningful movie memories,”1 while Rene Rodriguez’s review for The Miami Herald noted that one could easily “write a thesis paper examining all the films (Chazelle) lifts from, most notably ‘The Umbrellas of Cherbourg,’ but also ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ and ‘An American in Paris’ and pretty much anything starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.”2 In possibly the most extravagant of these gestures, Fandango ran a series of LA-centric features on Chazelle, including a comparison of his top ten Los Angeles films with those of the site’s readership and a map of Los Angeles drawn from the events of the film.3

Not surprisingly, Griffith Park and Observatory feature fairly prominently on this map, which is entitled “Finding La La Land” and designed like a mid-century promotional poster. Despite the fact that “mapping” film locations has flourished in the wake of GPS technologies, the image is resolutely pre-digital in its design and ambit, appearing more as a guide to bygone Los Angeles than anything commensurate to the contemporary cityscape. In keeping with that tendency, the main neighbourhoods included are Burbank, Pasadena, South Pasadena, Hermosa Beach, Beverly Grove, and Downtown Los Angeles, along with a couple of interiors that are dotted more or less arbitrarily across the city. At first glance, these neighbourhoods make intuitive sense, especially Burbank, whose cinematic heritage renders it a natural choice for Chazelle’s fixation with a bygone era of Hollywood. As the locations for a film about Los Angeles that is ostensibly set in the present, however, they reflect a different kind of curation, since – with the exception of Downtown, which is presented in an utterly fantastic light – they are all neighbourhoods that are overwhelmingly occupied by affluent white people. The fact is even more pointed in the cases of Pasadena and South Pasadena, common shooting locations that have long been used as a synecdoche for white suburban America, and for films like John Carpenter’s Halloween that query white suburban America.

As a musical about the present that is set in predominantly white enclaves of a largely African American and Hispanic city, there is inevitably something a bit suspect about La La Land’s agenda. Of course, white people often make films for other white people, and the lack of diversity in Hollywood is something that affects many directors. Still, the fact that La La Land so conspicuously brands itself as a film “about” diversity makes its emphatic whiteness a bit confusing. As so many critics have noted, one of the most daring sequences is the opening musical number, “Another Day of Sun,” in which a rich cross-section of Los Angeles residents break into song on the Judge Harry Pregerson Interchange. Shot on location and backed by awe-inspiring vistas of the city – apparently Chazelle wanted to capture the sheer scale of Los Angeles – it’s a wonderful revival of the freeway reveries that enthralled New Hollywood. Yet, as the film unfolds, that exuberance is somewhat soured by the sinking suspicion that this interchange is about the only place diversity can flourish in Chazelle’s city.

La La Land

Another Day of Sun

That’s not to say, of course, that there aren’t non-white characters in La La Land. If anything, the film needs to acknowledge the non-white history and culture of the city in order to stake its claims about whiteness in the first place. Nevertheless, despite the fact that Hispanics now make up roughly half of the city, they are completely absent from Chazelle’s ostensibly diversified vision of the metropolis. Similarly, despite the fact that Chazelle lists Charles Burnett’s Killer of Sheep (1978) amongst his top ten films about Los Angeles, there is no real sense of African Americans participating in the city’s cinematic heritage in any sustained or meaningful way. Instead, jazz is used as a synecdoche for African American cultural expression – and for non-white expression generally – since it’s only around Los Angeles’  jazz bars that Sebastian and Mia glimpse the minority position they really occupy. Yet it’s within these very spaces that Sebastian articulates his mission to save jazz from itself – the mission that drives the film – and to teach African Americans to properly commune with their musical heritage, declaring that “The world says jazz is dying – not on my watch.” Worse still, Sebastian’s mission stems from his dismay at seeing his favourite jazz joint remade as a Brazilian diner and dance studio. Insisting that “I can’t let them samba all over its history,” he embarks on a bizarre white saviour mission to protect Los Angeles’ jazz heritage from misappropriation at the hands of its Hispanic and African American residents and musicians.

Those tendencies in the film reach their nadir in Sebastian’s relationship with Keith, a jazz artist played by musician John Legend. As far as Sebastian is concerned, Keith is an utter sellout for having crossed over from traditional jazz to lite jazz. Indeed, it’s only because he wants to build a life with Mia that Sebastian finally agrees to tour with Keith, setting up the more sombre and melancholy third act of the film. This spectacle of a white man berating and chastising an African American musician for playing lite jazz is cringeworthy, not least because lite jazz is one of the whitest musical genres that exists. Above and beyond the strange fantasy that African Americans have been primarily responsible for the “dilution” of the pure jazz impulse, this whole sequence recapitulates a fairly tired argument against jazz fusion generally, especially because there’s nothing about Keith’s music to suggest that he is that much of a sellout. In fact, all that really distinguishes him from Sebastian is his willingness to bring non-traditional instruments and production effects into the jazz studio, gestures which have often been at the forefront of jazz innovation and experimentation rather than signaling a retreat from the vanguard that Sebastian claims to occupy. Whereas Whiplash (Damien Chazelle, 2014) played as a brilliant satire on the most extreme kind of macho musical snobbery, these moments make it feel as if Chazelle is inhabiting the elitism that he once satirised, as well as all the assumptions about race and class that enabled that elitism in the first place.

Given that the ages of classical Hollywood and classical jazz are largely coextensive, it’s also odd that La La Land is content to drench itself in cinematic anachronism while simultaneously bemoaning jazz as a thing of the past. In his review for the Chicago Sun-Times, Richard Roeper noted that “‘La La Land’ is set in the present day, but it often seems to be taking place in another era,” a description that perfectly captures the way in which the film seems to straddle an indeterminate space between present and past.4 It’s there, of course, in the copious quotation of older films, genres and structures of feeling. But this timelessness is also a matter of a defiantly analog sensibility on Chazelle’s part that often makes his shots resemble the kind of hyper-cinematic stylisation pioneered by artists like Jeff Wall and Gregory Crewdson. As if in defiance of the drone cinematography that has come to characterise recent depictions of Los Angeles, Chazelle opts for “bravura” analog camera effects, appealing to a quite dated incredulity at the mobility and dexterity of the camera that makes every sequence feel as if it is on the verge of spinning out into a semi-independent sequence shot. In the process, two distinct timelines emerge – one in which Los Angeles is still steeped in its cinematic past, and one in which the African American innovations that enabled jazz have become a thing of the past. As those two timelines converge and coalesce, it’s hard not to feel that La La Land is tacitly offering a consolatory version of the city’s history in which African Americans are displaced from their own aesthetic visions, arriving too soon or too late to really carry them through to their potential.

To some extent, these issues around race have been noted by film critics. In “The Unbearable Whiteness of La La Land,” Geoff Nelson compares the nostalgia engendered by the film to that exploited by Donald Trump, pointing out the “profound irony in liberal white folks heading to La La Land to repair after a political season overflowing with the nostalgia of white supremacy.”5 In a more satirical vein, Ira Madson III of MTV skewers Sebastian’s affectations by way of a series of riffs that read as an irreverent DVD commentary: “Inexplicably, the black people in the nightclub are absolutely mesmerized by Gosling and Stone’s jitterbugging…Frankly, it’s fucking hilarious.”6 And, in a piece written for the Los Angeles Review of Books, Morgan Leigh Davies includes the film’s approach to race within a wider examination of Chazelle’s masculinist lens, especially his recurring fascination with a version of artistic life that is “masochistic, obsessive, self-righteous and aggressively male.” 7

Nevertheless, despite these critiques, counter-readings of La La Land have failed to gain traction within cinematic journalism, with a second wave of appreciations coming out as correctives to these more qualified responses. In some cases, a second viewing has been diligently sought in order to quash any initial misgivings, as in the case of The Huffington Post’s David Toussaint, who “decided to take the diplomatic route” and “shut up and saw the movie again,” only to realise that “it’s not so much that La La Land is a magnificent musical, it’s that it’s a magnificent movie.”8 In other cases, acrimony has been directed more explicitly at naysayers, as in a recent piece for The Guardian in which Guy Lodge criticises the “large and previously quiet faction of critics, Twitterati and under-article commenters” that have “gather(ed) to tell us how lousy (La La Land) really is,” as well as their “internet hot takes decrying everything that’s supposedly wrong with the Los Angeles-besotted musical, from thin female characterization to a white-saviour complex on jazz to an uneven sound mix.” 9

La La Land

What all these apologias for La La Land share is a sense that defending Chazelle’s film is tantamount to defending the pleasures of cinema itself. For all that Lodge decries the possibility that the film might involve a “white-saviour complex,” this assumption has already been built into most critiques, which deliver accolades to Chazelle for managing to save cinema from its own possible or imminent demise. In some cases, saving the musical is framed as a synecdoche for saving Hollywood, with many reviews suggesting that as one of the least fashionable contemporary genres and a pinnacle of classical Hollywood, its health and survival is one of the best ways to calibrate the persistence of a genuinely cinematic impulse into the present. Accordingly, Ian Freer observes in Empire that La La Land is “more than just a throwback to the golden age of MGM musicals, it’s a funny Valentine to the entire history of the genre.”10 Similarly, Jamie Graham, writing for Total Film, opens with a prefatory observation to the effect that, despite the escalating proliferation of newer media, “the musical nonetheless refuses to curl up its twinkle toes and die. The likes of Evita, Moulin Rouge!, Chicago, the Pitch Perfect movies and TV’s Glee have all hitched sudden breaths to interrupt the decades-long death rattle.”11 Taken on its own terms, Graham’s list would seem to suggest a devolution of the musical as a cinematically crucial genre, as he proceeds from a rock opera, to the retro stylisations of Moulin Rouge! and Chicago, to the seriality of the Pitch Perfect franchise, to the televisual seriality of Glee. In the process, the musical is displaced from any sense of a singular theatrical or cinematic event, a situation that La La Land presumably reverses by being introduced at the conclusion of this chronological chain.

Critically, both of these reviewers insist that La La Land is not merely a gesture of curation, but continuation. That point is made even more emphatically in Peter Travers’ review for Rolling Stone, which bypasses the musical genre altogether to promise the audience that they “will leave exhilarated by Chazelle’s nonstop inventiveness, dazzled by the performances…thrilled that they figured out how to make movies magic again.”12 Not only does Travers see in La La Land a renewal of cinema for the present, but for the distant future, especially in the opening musical number, a “cinematic time capsule” that is destined to be “studied and swooned over for decades to come.” By celebrating the prologue as a time capsule, Travers both affirms its indebtedness to the past and its durability for prospective audiences, framing the film proper as the cinematic future that the prologue guarantees. Yet this also implies that La La Land is durable because of its indebtedness to the past, and that the future it envisages is an extension of the past. As Bryan Durrans argues in “Time Capsules as Extreme Collecting,” this situation is characteristic of the time capsule more generally, which tends to defy “the unpredictable unfolding of the world-at-large” by “insulating itself from it (sealing itself closed) in order to arrive unchanged from where it left.” For Durrans, this “insulation from interm process resembles modernist detachment from the real world of experience in favour of its token, framed representation,” even as the “messy or incoherent quotidian” that distinguishes most time capsule curation resists this subsumption of the past into a coherent historical narrative.13 Yet if La La Land is a time capsule, then it is an unusual brand of time capsule, insofar as Chazelle’s meticulous curation of the past and present resists anything remotely “messy or incoherent,” opting instead for a collection of objects and experiences that recapitulate the monadic modernism of the capsule itself. Where the typical time capsule subsists on a tension between conservative form and disruptive content, Chazelle’s capsule fuses form and content into a modernist affirmation of Hollywood – or affirmation of modernist Hollywood – that forecloses futurity. Far from discovering some genuine prospect for the future by looking to the past, La La Land offers the pastness of the future as a foregone conclusion, domesticating it by disavowing it.

As a cinematic time capsule that refuses to consider a future that exceeds its own conditions of production, La La Land therefore precludes any possibility of a post-cinematic world. Moreover, by collapsing the present into a mythical cinematic past, Chazelle removes any sense that we might already live in such a world, or that post-cinematic media may be instrumental in defining our present. If La La Land is in fact saving cinema, as so many critics have suggested, then it is presumably saving it from whatever constitutes the post-cinematic at this particular moment in time. Just as jazz fusion looms over the film as a horrifying aesthetic horizon, so La La Land sets out to assuage fears that cinema may be in the process of fusing with something beyond or outside it, a process Chazelle frames as “bastardization”:

Living in LA, you live in a city that is full of movie history. Everywhere you turn, there’s an echo of this glorified movie past. In many ways, there’s also an industry that seems determined to erase that past, or ignore it, and push forward. I have in my head a version of the debate that John Legend and Ryan Gosling have in the movie about jazz. If you apply that to movies, there’s the same idea — do you try to preserve what you love about the past of an art form at the risk of marginalizing it? Or do you try to push it toward the future, at the risk of bastardizing it?14

By explicitly converging his curation of Los Angeles’ cinematic heritage with Sebastian’s curation of Los Angeles’ jazz heritage, Chazelle answers his own question. As hybridity compromises his version of jazz, so it compromises his version of cinema, with Sebastian’s tone and address coming to define that of La La Land as a whole. For Travers, that makes for a welcome corrective to “the youth market, whose patience with song and dance is usually limited to short-form videos about getting into formation with Beyoncé.” Yet, as Steven Shaviro has argued in Post Cinematic Affect, this corrective is merely one instance of the tension between the “the mimetic, hypotactic and striated space of cinematic montage” and “the simulacral, paratactic and smooth space of digital compositing” that defines post-cinematic media as a whole. The relationship between these two modes may range “from the seamless unity of the multiple elements” (as occurs in La La Land) to “their more or less explicit disjunction” (as occurs in “Formation”) but, in both cases, their hybrid presence is what constitutes the post-cinematic, rather than a preference in either direction.15 In that sense, the defining feature of La La Land is not how completely it embraces analog technologies, but how seamlessly it naturalises its digitality under the aegis of the analog, precluding any sense of the post-production image enhancement that must have taken place in order to guarantee such lavish and vibrant arrangements of colour, tone and atmosphere.

La La Land

In order to disavow the diversity of the Los Angeles cityscape, then, it is necessary for Chazelle to disavow the digitality of the Los Angeles cityscape. That’s not to say, of course, that digital culture is inherently or simplistically diverse, but that the perceived equation of diversity and digitality drives La La Land to an aesthetic situation in which whiteness is naturalised, normalised and equated with the cinematic apparatus and address itself. And for whiteness to be so strenuously equated with the film’s medium – to be the medium – the film itself has to self-consciously inhabit and invoke an older media ecology, such that La La Land’s heightened cinematics and heightened whiteness are two sides of the same coin. In this gesture, Chazelle offers a more general corrective to the growing corpus of post-cinematic depictions of Los Angeles, and to those directors who have turned their eyes upon this particular city as a way of calibrating the United States’ adoption of post-cinematic media. After all, if Los Angeles is the city that is most historically and culturally inextricable from cinema in the United States, then it is also the city where the full implications of a post-cinematic media regime are likely to be most readily available, leading to a flourishing body of work – from established auteurs all the way to DIY indie voices – that attempts to envisage how this most cinematic of cities might look after cinema, or without cinema. In direct defiance of these experimental fringes, however, Chazelle presents a version of Los Angeles in which cinema was never supplanted or supplemented by these newer media, which also means a version of Los Angeles in which all the multifarious voices and perspectives opened up by these newer media are nostalgically and categorically silenced.

It’s not surprising, then, that the most dramatic dissent from Chazelle’s vision has gravitated towards these fugitive spaces of post-cinematic media – the “factions of critics, Twitterati and under-article commenters” that Lodge decries – as an alternate critical forum. On 22 December 2016, Rostam Batmanglij, a former member of Vampire Weekend, posted a sequence of tweets that targeted Chazelle’s representation of Los Angeles and its residents:

“La La Land didn’t have a single gay person in it. #notmylosangeles”

“furthermore the people of color written into the script were not really important to the story, john legend gave a great performance but…”

“his character was what? a sellout? who made uncool pop music?”

“black people invented jazz but now we need a white man to come save/preserve it? sorry this narrative doesn’t work for me in 2016”16

More recently, Elon Rutberg, a producer who worked with Kanye West on Yeezus, tweeted a pithy manifesto on the film, noting that “‘La La Land’ is…an act of destructive naivete in a historical moment requiring depth, clarity and refined thought.” Minutes after observing that the spectacle of “Ryan Gosling saving jazz for entirely black audiences in Los Angeles” was “a means to weaponize dangerous ideas,” Rutberg deleted this attack with the injunction to “#UseTwitterLikeSnapchat.”17 By removing authorship and agency for his tweets as soon as their longevity was guaranteed – they have since been preserved on sites like Pitchfork – Rutberg not only critiqued the film but enacted the impossibility of envisaging a stable space from which to critique it in the first place. Speaking from a critical future that has already been foreclosed – that he himself has foreclosed – Rutberg frames even the transitory utterances of Twitter as inadequate to his perspective on the film. As if prescient that no one critique can cut through the consensus that has built around La La Land, Rutberg instead invokes the combined powers of Twitter and SnapChat as a kind of counterpoint to the anachronistically cinematic world that Chazelle constructs, offering an opposing medium as much as an opposing opinion. Whereas most mainstream Hollywood depictions of non-white life remain stuck decades in the past (and La La Land is no exception to that rule), image messaging and sharing services like SnapChat and Vine have proven capable of minutely calibrating the status of the non-white community in the United States. Not only are they mouthpieces for people who might find it difficult to gain a voice in more traditional cinematic environments, but their capacity to register real-time racism has also turned them into something of a civil rights barometer as well. As emblematic instances of post-cinematic media, these image sharing services therefore bypass the traditional relationship between cinema and print media, offering commentary that is both visual and verbal but that neither claims to be cinematic in any traditional sense nor journalistic in any conventional manner.

In their combination of directed content with disposable media, Rostam and Rutberg’s utterances also invert the traditional model of the time capsule. Against speculations that the digital archive has taken the time capsule’s combination of long-term storage and picaresque testimony to its logical conclusion, Rostam and Rutberg pair transitory storage and socially crucial testimony so as to reaffirm that “inconsistency as a function rather than a failure of time capsules – something their hybridity permits rather than something their incompetence cannot prevent – makes hybridity the basis both of their vernacular appeal and their negative reputation from the normative viewpoint of regular collecting.”18 Above and beyond their specific critiques, their mode of critique exposes La La Land’s profound nostalgia for the illusions of consensus that can occur in analog environments, even as they refuse to offer any single or summative statement either, in one of “the paradoxes which time capsules routinely articulate [as] symptoms of their ontological hybridity, which describes their deployment of ideas and actions of variably modernist and non-modernist character.”19 As remediated or parodic time capsules, Rostam and Rutberg’s tweets clarify that La La Land doesn’t merely court critical consensus, but is almost meaningless without it.

For most critics, it has been hard to resist that injunction to consensus, just as it is difficult to avoid being seduced by the dexterity with which Chazelle manages to record and archive all the traditionally cinematic vistas and vantage points that still exist amidst the flux of this emergent, post-cinematic Los Angeles. Yet the very way in which Chazelle goes about recording those vistas belies what Mark Hansen describes as the key conundrum of recording, namely that it “now occurs through and in the service of extremely short circuits of experience and, as such, no longer serves to support the kinds of reflective experience and memory that could still be adequately mediated by recording technologies like cinema.”20  Against the “durational traces of human experiences” that La La Land identifies with white Hollywood, the responses of Rostam and Rutberg offer a series of “molecular behavioural traces that record incremental dispositions rather than integral experiences.”21 In doing so, they present an alternative response to Los Angeles from that imagined by Chazelle, converging the city with the “data trash,” “forgotten or neglected media approaches” and “otherwise abandoned software as cultural evidence” that Wolfgang Ernst identifies as the most productive response to archival nostalgia: “This nostalgia is, of course, a phantasm surviving from the age of print. The alternative is a media culture dealing with the virtual anarchive of multimedia in a way beyond the conservative desire of reducing it to classificatory order again.”22 By sidestepping Chazelle’s address to print media, and the consensus of conventional film criticism, Rostam and Rutberg’s responses therefore suggest that any attempt to truly come to terms with post-cinematic Los Angeles must adopt such an anarchival approach, if only to avoid the temptation to obsessively catalogue the city’s white cinematic heritage to the point of occluding the digital present. Without that recognition that La La Land’s whiteness ramifies first and foremost as a retreat from post-cinematic Los Angeles, we can’t properly acknowledge the legacy of classical Hollywood on all the peoples in the present – not just all the peoples in the past – who are debilitated and dehumanised by Chazelle’s vision of what it means to be Angelenos, and of what it means to be Americans.

Endnotes

  1. Todd McCarthy, “‘La La Land’: Venice Review,” The Hollywood Reporter, 31 August 2016, http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/la-la-land-review-emma-stone-ryan-gosling-924458.
  2. Rene Rodriguez, “‘La La Land’ is an absolute dream of a movie – even if you don’t like musicals,” The Miami Herald, 15 December 2016, http://www.miamiherald.com/entertainment/movies-news-reviews/article121029688.html.
  3. Erik Davis, “Exclusive: ‘La La Land’ Damien Chazelle’s top 10 L.A. movies,” Fandango, 6 December 2016, http://www.fandango.com/movie-news/exclusive-la-la-land-damien-chazelles-top-10-la-movies-751655. Fandango Staff, “Mapped: See the L.A. locations where ‘La La Land’ was filmed,” Fandango, 15 December 2016, http://www.fandango.com/movie-news/mapped-see-the-la-locations-where-la-la-land-was-filmed-751657.
  4. Richard Roeper, “Exhilarating ‘La La Land’ depicts love in classic musical fashion,” Chicago Sun-Times, 15 December 2016, http://chicago.suntimes.com/entertainment/exhilarating-la-la-land-depicts-love-in-classic-musical-fashion/
  5. Geoff Nelson, “The Unbearable Whiteness of La La Land,” Paste Magazine, 6 January 2017, https://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2017/01/the-unbearable-whiteness-of-la-la-land.html. For an example of the type of article Nelson is targeting, see John Patterson, “La La Land: why this magical musical will transport you from Trump-World,” The Guardian, 9 January 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/jan/09/why-musical-la-la-land-will-transport-you-from-trump-world.
  6. Ira Madson III, “La La Land’s white jazz narrative,” MTV News, 19 December 2016, http://www.mtv.com/news/2965622/la-la-lands-white-jazz-narrative/
  7. Morgan Leigh Davies, “Art in the Age of Masculinist Hollywood: Damien Chazelle’s “La La Land,”” Los Angeles Review of Books, 2 January 2017, https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/art-age-masculinist-hollywood-damien-chazelles-la-la-land/
  8. David Touissaint, “Let the ‘La La Land’ Backlash Begin,” The Huffington Post, 27 December 2016, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-toussaint/let-the-la-la-land-backla_b_13866332.html
  9. Guy Lodge, “La La Land and Hollywood’s everlasting love affair with itself,” The Guardian, 12 January 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/jan/11/la-la-land-and-hollywoods-everlasting-love-affair-with-itself
  10. Ian Freer, “La La Land Review,” Empire, 9 January 2017, http://www.empireonline.com/movies/la-la-land/review/
  11. Jamie Graham, “La La Land Review: Will Make Audiences Break Into Grins Like Its Characters Break Into Song,” Total Film, 8 January 2017, http://www.gamesradar.com/la-la-land-review/
  12. Peter Travers, “‘La La Land’ Review: Magical Modern-Day Musical Will Sweep You Off Your Feet,” Rolling Stone, 6 December 2016, http://www.rollingstone.com/movies/reviews/peter-travers-la-la-land-movie-review-w453736. For Travers, this renders La La Land different in kind from even the most critically acclaimed films of 2016: “There are more momentous films this year, films geared to test our conscience (Fences, Silence, The Birth of a Nation) or lunge at our hearts (Manchester By the Sea, Moonlight, Loving). But what makes La La Land such a hot miracle is how the passion for cinema and its possibilities radiates from every frame.”
  13. Bryan Durrans, “Time Capsules as Extreme Collecting,” in Extreme Collecting: Challenging Practices for 21st Century Museums, Graeme Were and Jonathan C.H. King, eds. (Oxford, NY: Berghahn Books, 2012), 188-189
  14. Tasha Robinson, “La La Land writer-director Damien Chazelle on subverting the things he loves most,” The Verge, 7 December 2016, http://www.theverge.com/2016/12/7/13862752/la-la-land-damien-chazelle-interview-ryan-gosling-emma-stone
  15. Steven Shaviro, Post Cinematic Affect (Zero Books, 2010), 78
  16. Rostam Batmanglij, Twitter post, 22 December 2016, https://twitter.com/matsoR/
  17. Elon Rutberg, Twitter post, 10 January 2017. These tweets have since been removed, but are available in their entirety at http://pitchfork.com/news/70805-kanye-collaborator-elon-rutberg-la-la-land-is-fascist/
  18. Durrans, “Time Capsules,” 189. For an astute discussion of this relationship between digital culture and the “Ideal Time Capsule,” see William E. Jarvis, Time Capsules: A Cultural History (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2002), 257
  19. Durrans, “Time Capsules,” 189
  20. Mark Hansen, Feed-Forward: On the Future of Twenty-First Century Media (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2014), 40
  21. Ibid 40
  22. Wolfgang Ernst, Digital Memory and the Archive (Minneapolis: Minnesota University Press, 2012), 140, 195, 115