Locations #7, #8, & #9:

The Flashback

Q.  Where is it supposed to be?

After Mia walks into Lipton's and stops to listen to Sebastian play the piano, at the unexpected sound of a honking horn, the scene abruptly jumps to a eight-minute- long flashback, before finally returning to the present moment at Lipton's.

Up until now, we have only seen Mia's side of the story.  So the filmakers take a break here to go back and show you some of Sebastian's backstory, so that you'll know both of them by the time they first meet, at Lipton's (and you'll understand why Sebastian behaves so rudely when he rushes past Mia at the club).

This flashback was shot at five different locations, but we've already seen two of them: Lipton's restaurant and the Traffic Dance freeway.

Here is a quick overview of the entire sequence:

(Click on the screenshots below to see detailed pages about those locations.)

  • 17:30: There is a sudden flashback from Lipton's to the Traffic Dance location, where we see that Sebastian was also there, stuck in traffic on the freeway, and honking at Mia (who had become distracted and had failed to start driving when traffic started moving again).  She gives him the finger as he passes her, but it's just an anonymous traffic encounter - they don't really notice each other.

  • 17:52: We see Sebastian, still in his car, pull into a drive-in called the "Retro-Dairy", to get something to eat.

    • 17:55: While there, we see him sitting at an outdoor table next to a large mural of California

  • 18:01: Sebastian looks across the street at (what the signs outside tell us is) "Van Beek: "Tapas & Tunes".  ( We learn later that Seb is upset that the new owners have turned a classic jazz club into a Samba/Tapas place, and he hates it. )

  • 18:13: We see the inside of Sebastian's apartment, as his sister drops by to nag him about getting his life together, and he practices playing jazz on his piano.

  • 21:03: We are back at Lipton's, but not in the present moment - we're still in the flashback, seeing (in the recent past) how Sebastian was re-hired to play the piano at Liptons, where the reticent, grouchy owner (J.K. Simmons) insists that Sebastian not play any jazz at all, and play only the mundane Christmas carols on his playlist. 

    We see Seb make an effort, begrudgingly tinkling out a simple 'Jingle Bells'.  But he doesn't last long, and in the middle of 'Deck the Halls', he almost involuntarily transitions into his own composition ("Mia & Sebastian's theme"), the music that Mia hears when she's walking past the club.

    To make matters worse, he ends the song with a burst of improvisational jazz, and immediately after he finishes. the boss comes over and fires him,

  • 25:49: And just like that, the flashback ends, and we are back to the present moment at Lipton's, with Mia standing at the entrance, watching Sebastian talk to his boss.  She then walks over to try to speak with him, but he angrily rushes past her, almost knocking her over in his hurry to storm out of the club, leaving her dumbfounded.

You can click on any of the location screencaps above to go to a detailed page describing where that part of the flashback was shot. 

Or you can just click on the "Next" arrows below to advance through each flashback location, one by one.


Move on to the next movie location seen in "La La Land".


"La La Land" and its images are copyright Summit Entertainment
The rest of this page is Copyright  2020-Gary Wayne - All Rights Reserved

Or return to the Seeing-Stars home page.