Friday, January 22, 2010
He Made Me Watch It ~ Chinatown (1974) @ the Brattle
Me? A Film Buff? More like a Film Bluff if you ask me.
I'm really tired of being the person who claims to have extensive knowledge of classic films but has yet to see many of the classic classics. Those films that everyone and their mother has seen and permanently reside on important lists like the AFI's top 100. I'm embarassed to admit that I haven't seen Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Bonnie & Clyde (1967), To Kill a Mockingbird (1962), West Side Story (1961), My Fair Lady (1964), 12 Angry Men (1957), among others. Every decade has some classics that I've avoided for whatever stupid reason I have come up with. My biggest excuse is that it's popular. I've always been a bucker of trends and the additional layer of popularity on the film is like that nasty icing on a cupcake that you have to eat through to get to the cake (or you remove it like I do).
So I've been very very very open-minded lately. Carlos suggested we see Chinatown (1974) on the big screen and I immediately acquiesced. It's not even really He Made Me Watch It but more like He Subtly Suggested It and I Immediately Jumped on the Bandwagon.
I came to Chinatown (1974) with almost no prior knowledge except for the fact that it starred Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway and that the film has won critical acclaim and some Oscars. I'm very glad that I hadn't because I came with no preconceived notions and the film to me was fresh and new.
Carlos, Kevin, Lisa and I saw Chinatown (1974) at the Brattle Theatre in Harvard Square on Wednesday night. Chinatown is a favorite of both Carlos and Kevin but Lisa and I were both newbies. Although I was very tired and perhaps didn't pick up all the details of the complex plot like I could have if I had been perky, I thoroughly enjoyed this film. Much of what I liked of it was that it felt more like 1937 than 1974, which I appreciated. The style of the film was very noir but seeing as the movie was shot in post-Hayes Code days, they could take a lot more liberty with sexuality which I thought was interesting. I've always been fascinated with the abuse of power when it comes to natural resources, like water, and this film focuses on the redirection of water in Los Angeles during a late summer drought.
I was happy to see that many folks came out on a Wednesday night to see Chinatown at the Brattle. A few folks laughed during a scene they found particularly campy (the Daughter-Sister-Slapping scene with Dunaway and Nicholson), but I chalked that up to their unfortunate ignorance and incapacity to understand the film. I have absolutely no patience for people who mock classic films. Those people should not even be allowed to see these films in public, in my honest opinion. They couldn't ruin my night though, I had a blast.
Stay tuned to this space as Carlos makes me watch another film on the big screen!