Archival Program Information
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Film Screening

Thursday, June 13, 2013
7:00 p.m.
Harold M. Williams Auditorium, The Getty Center

Smog poster
The laconic and moody Smog (1962, 35 mm, 88 min.) is a little-known film from director Franco Rossi that presents a compelling outsider's perspective, following Italian attorney Vittorio Ciocchetti (Enrico Maria Salerno) through two days in the City of Angels. Stumbling upon several expatriates from his homeland, Ciocchetti is shown the vast and enigmatic city through their eyes, from Los Angeles International Airport and Pierre Koenig's Stahl Residence (both newly built) to the oil wells of Culver City. Ciocchetti's encounters reveal a stark contrast between the liberated lifestyle of midcentury Los Angeles and the struggles of postwar Italy.

Rossi's depiction of Los Angeles is unique, devoid of sensationalism, and true to the city's eclectic mix of landscapes, cultures, social strata, and peculiar vocations. Smog was the first European film with the majority of its footage shot in Los Angeles, and Rossi and his screenwriters spent three months of preproduction absorbing the city's atmosphere. Shooting included several significant locations, particularly newly built architectural experiments, that do not appear in the final film. However, these omitted scenes are referenced in various reviews from the 1960s and '70s, which detail different iterations of the film, title, and credit changes as well as stalled international distribution deals. An introduction by exhibition co-curator Rani Singh will explain the film's mysterious and complicated history.

This screening complements the exhibition Overdrive: L.A. Constructs the Future, 1940–1990, on view at the J. Paul Getty Museum from April 9 to July 20, 2013.

Special thanks to the UCLA Film and Television Archive.