Short Film: Detective City Angel
Welcome to L.A., city of sunshine, grime, disease, degenerates and psychopaths. Which is captured in all its frenetic glory in Alessandro Cima’s gritty whirlwind of a short film, Detective City Angel. Go undercover with a black-clad paranoid as he navigates the concrete and asphalt jungle.
Los Angeles is such a massive, sprawling metropolis that it’s difficult to get a solid grasp of the city’s full personality in a single film. Cima, though, does an incredible job specifically picking up on one aspect of it: The low-rent, crazies-filled, decaying urban side of it.
While I don’t personally know of any studies proving that L.A. has a higher concentration of crazies than the rest of the U.S., there are times when it definitely feels like it. As a city filled with a billion broken dreams, paranoid delusions run rampant among our citizenry. Cima’s “detective” is a guy one could meet on many a street corner here.
What’s particularly nice about Detective City Angel is the consistent feel of the locations, several landmarks of which I personally recognize being an L.A. resident myself. While the film may give a vibe of all taking place within a hectic four-block square radius or so, the action is actually spread out across a few neighborhoods, from Downtown to Hollywood.
Cima also gives his film a schizophrenic vibe, suddenly shifting gears about midway through from an experimental collage film to a quasi-Lynchian noir. While the narrative section of the film could have benefited from a more stylized visual representation to match the experimental section, still, both halves work together with the first half ending up feeling like the fractured mind-rush of the main character. We are clearly being drawn into his fevered consciousness, one that has lost touch with reality and is incapable of maintaining coherent thoughts.
Alessandro Cima has posted several short films to Vimeo — some of which have been featured on the Underground Film Journal in the past — with Detective City Angel appearing to be his most epic film yet, combining several of the styles found in his past work.
He is also the editor of Candlelight Stories, where he posts other filmmakers’ short films, online games, audio novels and more.