3 Key Movies Every Fan of La La Land Should See

La La Land soundtrack
La La Land soundtrack cover

Most movies have their influences in earlier movies, but like the work of Quentin Tarantino, La La Land wears its influences on its sleeve. Set in Hollywood and featuring an aspiring actress as a character, it's a MOVIE-movie that whispers in your ear, "Let's keep these cool old classics alive. Have you seen this one? What about this? And this?"

Here are three films that fans of La La Land won't want to miss.

In one of the most iconic scenes of the movie, Mia (Emma Stone) and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) have a romantic date at the Griffith Observatory's Samuel Oschin planetarium. It's a reference to the most memorable locale in Rebel Without A Cause, which the couple takes in at The Rialto. (It's a date that would be impossible to create in real life for various reasons.)

La La Land's cinematography mimics the lush, vibrant palette of Technicolor, a film process used in Hollywood's golden era and associated with Vincente Minnelli's MGM musicals. One sequence in particular evokes the dreamy dialogue-free dance numbers in several Gene Kelly films, most famously An American in Paris.

If you really want to get wise to La La Land director Damien Chazelle's vision, however, check out the melancholy masterpiece Les parapluies de Cherbourg (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg). Every line of dialogue is sung in this tale of star-crossed lovers. La La Land's excellent songs draw for inspiration on the music of Michel Legrand. Director Jacques Demy was a key figure of the French New Wave, a movement of filmmaking in the 1960s that drew on old Hollywood movies for inspiration. (In a later musical, The Young Girls of Rochefort, he cast Gene Kelly himself.)

Looking for more? I've barely scratched the surface. An excellent video and this thorough piece at Slate dig deeper into La La Land's feast of visual references.

We welcome your respectful and on-topic comments and questions in this limited public forum. To find out more, please see Appropriate Use When Posting Content. Community-contributed content represents the views of the user, not those of Chicago Public Library