City of Gold, Laura Gabbert’s documentary film about LA’s beloved restaurant critic Jonathan Gold premiered this week at the Sundance Film Festival.
In her interview with Evan Kleiman Gabbert says it took three coffee meetings to convince Gold to do the film. Only after telling him that the movie would be “a film about Los Angeles but through his eyes” did he agree to the project. Gabbert and her crew spent four years filming Gold and interviewing countless friends, family and colleagues. There are several scenes filmed at KCRW including a visit to the Good Food studio and Gold’s Guest DJ Project which features prominently in the film.
Watch a clip below and read on for Evan Kleiman’s reaction to seeing City of Gold for the first time.
From Evan Kleiman:
I just finished watching the long awaited documentary on restaurant critic Jonathan Gold, City of Gold. Our city, Los Angeles, finally has a love song worthy of its breadth and complexity.
Filmmaker Laura Gabbert focused her lens on Mr. Gold and allows LA to spool out in front of us from the front seat of his truck. The film’s a visually beautiful yet chilled out portrayal of neighborhoods and people most visitors never see. (A heron walking along LA River concrete?) You can look at Jonathan’s work as a series of particular takes on individual restaurants. But I’ve always thought that his work is one long essay exploring all that we are in our fractured separateness and all that we could be in our diverse togetherness. Which is why Andrew Zimmern is so spot on in the film when he says, “I think the great human ill is contempt prior to investigation. Jonathan takes that idea (which is a really comfy idea for a lot ofAmericans) and he just blows it the f__k up.”
Gabbert takes in the intensely personal relationship Mr. Gold has with LA after a lifetime of driving to ferret out food. It’s a place he grew up, that permitted him to explore and redefine who he was from a cello nerd to a punk rocker to a cultural critic first immersed in music and now food. Jonathan wouldn’t be who he is without LA and for many of us who live here our experience of the city has been changed forever due to his complex and soulful writing. City of Gold introduces you to the Jonathan I’ve been lucky enough to know.
Find all of KCRW’s Sundance coverage here.