On Tuesday, February 28, I made my way to Midtown for the Landmark Cinema’s Noir Film Classics Series. Beginning in January, the theater started showing a classic film every Tuesday evening- the last of which takes place on March 7. On that particular Tuesday, the Landmark was screening the 1974 Roman Polanski film, Chinatown.
Considered by some to be the best film of all time, it stars Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway (whom we have certainly been hearing much of lately!) in a captivating neo-noir mystery. I enjoyed the film as I had not yet seen this particular one by Polanski.
I especially appreciated the introduction and post-film Question & Answer led by Gabe Wardell. This format was reminiscent of the way we handle screenings in our class; either Gus or Dr. Allison present the film, and then we dissect it together. Just like in our Wednesday discussions -following whatever we have most recently watched- I was impressed by some of the points people raised.
What was especially interesting in regards to our class was the style in which Chinatown was made. Chinatown was set in the 1930s. Although it didn’t actually come out until the mid 197os, it seems to me that Polanksi constructed it to resemble an earlier type of cinema. That is, he employed new-and-improved technology or technique to achieve the look of the past.
What struck me so much about this is how much it contrasts with our relationship with media. Something I have noticed in our class discussions and through the readings is the way each of us strives to be on the cusp of what’s hot and avant-garde. But here, with Chinatown, it was all about going backwards in time.
I highly recommend (to all in the class) checking out the Landmark Theatre and their different events! When I went, they mentioned that a new Classics Series will be starting up soon.