Reminder:  Papers are due next Tuesday, 4/10

 

 

Chinatown (R. Polanski, 1974) and New Hollywood Cinema (the

sequel)

 

1.  Industry:  how was the American film industry changing in the mid 70s?  Why were these changes a logical result of the advent of horizontal integration in the 60s?

 

          --changes in the nature of the product (why is Star Wars important in this respect?)

 

          --changes in the structure of the industry 

 

          --changes in distribution patterns (saturation booking)

 

2.  Genre and Chinatown

 

          --what are the defining characteristics of the detective film?

 

          --why (and how) do genre characteristics evolve over time? (remember The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance)

 

          --what are the signs of that evolution in Chinatown?

 

Chinatown:  Some Discussion Questions:

 

1.  film style:  how is this film a mixture of traditional and contemporary film styles?  What is important in the film about the

          --music

          --color

          --casting, acting, and characterization

 

2.  how is this an updating of the detective film? How does Chinatown compare to a classic detective film such as  The Maltese Falcon?

          --how is Chinatown a comment on the film noir?

 

3.  what is the detective character here like?  Is he

          --vulnerable?

          --a victim?

          --how does he compare to Bogart’s Sam Spade?  To Alicia Huberman in Notorious?

 

4.  what does Chinatown say about the knowledge a detective seeks? 

          --why/how does the film emphasize voyeurism as a facet of gaining knowledge?  What does Jake Gittes really know?

 

5.  what is the nature of mystery and uncertainty in this film?  How does it compare in this respect to Notorious?

 

6.  is the external world repressive and victimizing as it tends to be depicted in other films we’ve considered this semester?

 

7.  how does there a sense of conspiracy here?

 

8.  what is the role and function of family in this film?