Drawing inspiration from the classic crime novels of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler that so impressed the director in his youth, Polanski brought his own sensibility to bear on a quintessentially American genre. Wanting to avoid either a pastiche or too-literal homage to film noir – Polanski quickly rejected the notion of shooting in black and white – he imbued the film with naturalism and mordant humour, elevating Chinatown to its indisputable status as a modern classic of the genre. Pushing against film-noir’s staple dark shadows and nefarious happenings under cover of night, in Chinatown Polanski delivers a harshly lit LA, where graft and corruption brazenly transpire in broad daylight.
Working closely with screenwriter Robert Towne, Polanski distilled Towne’s densely-plotted mystery and made key changes, most significantly to the film’s heart-stopping finale – which he invested with breath-taking fatalism – and in the tone of the relationship between Nicholson and Dunaway. John Huston lends requisite gravitas to the role of Noah Cross and Polanski makes a memorable cameo as a switch-knife-wielding henchman who menaces Nicholson.
11 Nov - 22 Nov
In one of his most iconic roles, Jack Nicholson stars as Jake Gittes, an ethically expedient private investigator in ‘30s Los Angeles whose main game is catching out unfaithful spouses. When his latest assignment brings him into contact with the beautiful and elusive Evelyn Mulwray (Faye Dunaway), what at first appears a straight-forward case of infidelity escalates into a duplicitous web of corruption and greed.