With Roman Polanski back behind bars, the expression life imitating art or art imitating life seems apropos of a filmmaker that claims the spotlight for better or worse. His personal life makes for some amazing fluff. Beyond the tabloid headlines, it's hard not to rubber-neck Polanski's pictures. The classic film noir/crime story Chinatown is no exception.
Overshadowed in 1974 by The Godfather Part 2 at the Academy Awards, I think Chinatown is a film more relevant in the big picture. I'll draw a comparison if you live in Ontario and happen to follow the provincial government's progress with the Green Energy Act.
- The film's base plot explores corporate greed, murder and incest set as a period piece in LA circa 1930s.
- The Ontario government's Green Energy Act explores corporate greed, NIMBY bashing and cuckolding set in a surreal 2009. (I had to look that up - cuckold - thinking it was some bizarre new fetish.)
- The scoop. The folks at LA's Water Works Inc. are up to no good. Deliberately diverting fresh water back into the ocean claiming there's a drought in the city. In real time supplying water rights to the rich & famous living large in estate homes & vineyards. Add the murder of the City's chief engineer and things are not what they seem with the evidence on display.
- The scoop. Boy George & Dalton McGuilty team up and enforce wind-farm development by creating the feed-in-tariff incentive before they figure how the grid can support it leaving local municipalities wondering why there's a new giant wind-farm in their village.
- It's a picture that takes it's time telling the story and it needs to given the lack of narrative. Normally a crutch of Hollywood fair like this. It's refreshing not to have the protagonist blabbing away during useless segues to help the ignorant. Instead the viewer works along side Jack Nicholson (JJ Gittes), the PI hired to unravel the clues as characters come clean.
- It's a government doing as little as possible by telling it's citizens that greenwashing is the solution to jump-start a slumping economy. Employing expensive lobby groups who gorge on expenses while spewing endless rhetoric from renewable pundits. The bill at the end of the day is footed by the tax-payer.
In the film there's a famous line delivered from the PI when asked what he was doing in Chinatown. His reply: 'As little as possible'. It's a marvel of visual style, both the film and Ontario's Green Energy Act.
For the latest on the Ontario government's progress with the Green Energy Act, check out the Q&A from the National Post.
For more on Polanski as pedophile, read Jeff's view on the famous auteur.
I offer a different opinion on Roman than Jeff does. It took some balls at the studio to hire him to helm Chinatown. Surely he had made a name for himself with Rosemary's Baby but after the brutal murder of his wife (with expecting child) he probably went insane. No doubt Romans early Hollywood experience taught him there are no rules when you have the money and the power. (E.g Then you get the women - as per Scarface). His crime, wrong as it was, pales in comparison to his childhood memory as a Polish Jew during the Nazi regime or a victim of the Mason murders.
Messed up for sure but he's a survivor on the epic scale of life.