The University of Iowa

‘Chinatown’ Screening March 24 in ‘Film After Noir’ Series

March 11th, 2011

The “Film After Noir,” series (the Spring 2011 Proseminar in Cinema and Culture) continues this Thursday, March 24, with a screening of Chinatown (1974, Roman Polanski, 130 min.), starting at 7 p.m. in 101 BCSB.

Private investigator Jake Gittes (Jack Nicholson) is hired out of the blue by Evelyn Mulwray to investigate her husband, Hollis Mulwray, whom she suspects is having an affair. Gittes photographs Hollis with a young woman, but when it turns out that the woman was an impostor hired as part of an elaborate set-up, the real Evelyn Mulwray (Faye Dunaway) allows him to continue his investigation. After Hollis is murdered, secrets involving the Mulwray family as well as plans involving the city’s water system come to light. Gittes is caught within mysteries and corruption, whose links he sees only too late.

Polanski’s film, which is set in 1937, is based in part on events involving a scandal in Los Angeles in 1908. Following the Watergate scandal that led to the resignation of President Richard M. Nixon, the atmosphere surrounding Gittes’s misadventures struck many viewers of the film as resonant with Washington politics of the early 1970s. Winner of the Oscar for Best Screenplay by Robert Towne, Chinatown received ten other Academy Award nominations and four Golden Globes awards.

Steven Ungar, UI professor of French and Comparative Literature, will lead post-screening discussions.

The series is sponsored by UI International Programs, the Institute for Cinema and Culture and the Department of Cinema and Comparative Literature in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

For more information, contact Ungar at or 319-335-0330.