L.A. Without a Map

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L.A. Without a Map
Directed byMika Kaurismäki[1][2][3]
Screenplay byRichard Rayner
Story byMika Kaurismäki
Based onLos Angeles Without a Map
by Richard Rayner
Produced by
  • Pierre Assouline
  • Julie Baines
  • Sarah Daniel
  • Deepak Nayar
CinematographyMichel Amathieu
Edited byEwa J. Lind
Music bySébastien Cortella
Distributed byUnited Media
Release dates
  • 11 September 1998 (1998-09-11) (TIFF)
  • 28 July 1999 (1999-07-28) (France)
  • 27 August 1999 (1999-08-27) (Finland)
  • 1 September 1999 (1999-09-01) (United Kingdom)
Running time
107 minutes[1]
  • English
  • French

L.A. Without a Map, also known as Los Angeles Without a Map and I Love L.A.,[2][3] is a 1998 romantic comedy-drama film directed by Mika Kaurismäki, co-written by Kaurismaki and Richard Rayner,[1][2] based on Rayner's 1988 semi-autobiographical novel Los Angeles Without A Map.[2][3] The film stars David Tennant, Vinessa Shaw, Julie Delpy, Vincent Gallo, Joe Dallesandro, Steve Huison and Johnny Depp. It is a French, British, Finnish and Luxembourg production.[2][3]


While visiting the Northern English city of Bradford, Barbara, an aspiring Hollywood actress, has a fling with the town undertaker Richard. Barbara returns home and brags about the handsome writer she met while away. Unable to forget about her, Richard promptly leaves Bradford and goes to Hollywood without announcing it to his fiancé. Barbara is shocked and embarrassed to see Richard in Los Angeles.

With the help of a man called Moss, Richard finds an apartment and a job while he waits for Barbara to break up with her jealous boyfriend Patterson. Barbara finally calls; she and Richard go to the beach and she tells Richard that, although she likes him, it's safer for her future career if she stays with Patterson. In response, he tells her that he'd have gone to the North Pole for her.

Richard takes Barbara to a club, where Moss and his band (Leningrad Cowboys) are playing. Richard introduces Moss to Barbara's waitress friend Julie and the two get along famously. Meanwhile, Barbara sees Patterson getting too friendly with the Head Waitress at the restaurant and leaves him. Richard, Barbara, Moss and Julie spend the night on the road, before Moss and Julie leave to spend time together in a hotel. Barbara agrees to marry him and the pair have a wedding in Las Vegas.

Barbara arranges a meeting for Richard with Takowsky, a well-known screenwriting agent. Richard hands over his screenplay, Uzi Suicide, and returns home to work on more script ideas. Patterson casts Barbara in his next film on the condition that he have sex with her. She agrees and separates from Richard.

Richard visits Barbara's restaurant, where her coworker Julie tells him that Barbara doesn't wish to see him anymore. He overhears that Barbara will be waiting tables at a party later and is advised by the restaurant's owner that if he can't win Barbara back, then he should kill her. Instead, Richard acquires a drug to knock her unconscious in case he cannot convince her to return to his side. Moss accompanies him to the party and finds Barbara. After an argument, Richard whips out the drug, but Barbara hits him in the face knocking him to the ground.

Richard spends the night in prison and is released with the help of Takowsky. He returns to Bradford, where his funeral business has been kept afloat by a colleague. Barbara brings back Uzi Suicide, with the news that Takowsky has agreed to take Richard on as a client. She presents Richard with his first pay check and they decide to patch up their relationship, starting afresh in Bradford.



Locations used in the film include:




  • The film combined elements of David Hockney's A Bigger Splash with his Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) to make a completely new, Hollywood-themed, painting for the film.
  • Along with being partly filmed in Bradford - Richard Rayner who wrote the film was born in Bradford. David Hockney whose paintings were referenced in the film was born in Bradford. And Steve Huison who co-starred in the film has lived in Shipley, Bradford for most of his life.[8][9]
  • The film was released on DVD, notably in France and Germany. The German edition is in spoken English with optional German subtitles. The French edition is dubbed in French.


  1. ^ a b c d e "L.A. WITHOUT A MAP (15)". British Board of Film Classification. 18 August 1999. Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 28 January 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "LA without a Map (1999)". BFI. Retrieved 28 February 2022.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "BFI Collections - LA Without a Map". BFI Collections. Retrieved 28 February 2022.
  4. ^ a b McGrath, Melanie (October 1999). "BFI - Sight & Sound - LA without a Map (1998)". Old BFI. Archived from the original on 28 February 2022. Retrieved 28 February 2022.
  5. ^ Verguson, Christine (29 July 2008). "Bradford: City of film?". BBC. Retrieved 28 February 2022.
  6. ^ "L.A. Without a Map". Bradford Film Heritage. Retrieved 28 February 2022.
  7. ^ Johnston, Alistair (30 June 2014). "Yorkshire film review: "LA Without a Map" (1998)". The Yorkshire Review. Retrieved 28 February 2022.
  8. ^ a b Behrens, David (30 January 1998). "Lights, camera, drizzle - on film location in Bradford". Bradford Telegraph and Argus. Retrieved 28 February 2022.
  9. ^ a b "City of Film". Visit Bradford. Retrieved 28 February 2022.
  10. ^ "Undercliffe Cemetery". Filmed in Yorkshire. Retrieved 28 February 2022.

External links

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