Chinatown

water flows from a dam, as it is wont to do.

i read the thinkpieces on movies sometimes, posted in glossy magazines. i scroll through the becrying twitter threads, against my better judgement. i smugly roll my eyes over debates on the art vs. artist because that’s subjective, that’s personal, that’s something everything needs to decide for themselves and who am i to draw a line in the sand?

we do not know our artists. that’s a given. a man makes a chinatown or a rosemary’s baby, both films that show the horrifying effects of abuse, sexual assault, and sexism. we herald him as a prophet. he does not glorify toxic masculinity, he condemns it. why are you uncomfortable with his works? he so obviously doesn’t endorse what he is putting on screen. how could anyone make films like these and not fundamentally understand the message they are putting out?

a movie is not a singular pursuit, it is a microcosm of people running around like ants, each with their own ideas. so maybe it wasn't polanski who burrowed himself into the pain of a woman who can't scream and can't run from the powerful men who own la. maybe that was the screenwriter. maybe that was faye dunaway (supposedly impossible to work with but everything i've read about this film makes me side with her).

maybe, the artist really is dead. how many of my favorite movies were made by scumbags, except i simply don't know it? how many interpretations would i toss in the trash if they came to light? maybe, a piece of media is what you make it (for both good and bad). maybe, the chinatown that's a masterpiece and not clouded over by a real life tragedy that too eerily echos the onscreen tragedy, can still exist. maybe, we can take it back from polanski. rescue chinatown from chinatown, replay the whole thing, and reinstate the original happy ending of the film.

or maybe not. water flows from a dam. it all comes out eventually.

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