Sunday, April 10, 2016
Roman Polanski | Chinatown
the language of evil
by Douglas Messerli
Robert Towne (screenplay), Roman Polanski (director) Chinatown / 1974
Yet that is precisely the tragedy of his life and the hundreds of others good citizens who simply cannot imagine that someone like Noah Cross (the clear representative of evil in this work) might truly be without any redeeming characteristics. The famous scene where Gittes slaps Evelyn as she attempts to explain her relationship to the girl she has hidden away in her butler’s home, gives evidence to the fact that the private detective of this tale cannot imagine that someone and the incidents surrounding her could represent more than one thing: in this case, a “sister” and a “daughter.”
But the other aspects of this film are mostly fictional, and it is those elements of the film that are truly at the heart of this work. In fact, the plot would perhaps have functioned just the same had Gittes not been required to wander the city’s beaches and canyons in search of diverted water.
Los Angeles, April 10, 2016