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Chinatown - Directed by Roman Polanski

            In his observation on the corruption occurring in America, Roman Polanski directed the film, "Chinatown" (1974). In his movie, he focused on the topic of depression in classic film noir. The undetermined, consistent message of despair in Chinatown illustrates the frightened and disoriented American society during the 1970's. Chinatown's cinematographic components resemble the typical film noir's lighting and effects to connect it to the film's theme of despair. In film noir from the 1940's and 1950's, pictures were hues of black and white. One of the tactics Polanski used to generate depth and provide varied moods was to create shadows through the use of windowpanes. This is an example of the stylistic device of the opposition of the light and shadows. Though Chinatown is in color, the colors are primarily in hues of off- white, including tones of brown, gray and black. This coloration of the darker tones, mixed with the off white, not only maintains the basics of the "black and white" in classic film noir but takes it a step further. The "sunlight" pigments express the parched surroundings where Chinatown is situated. Jake's suit is also in this color family. Also, nearly all the scenes in which he is on screen occur in the afternoon when the sun casts a golden hue over him. The yellowish shade that's casting over him exposes light; it tricks the audience into assuming that "all is visible and clear". It also leads the audience to believe that Jake is definitely on his way to success. This light is used in Chinatown to mislead.
             Polanski uses oblique camera angles and their disruptive balance of frames and scenes near the beginning of the film when he uses different camera shots to pull back and slowly reveal new information to us. It is disorienting to us at the beginning because we are not really sure what we are seeing. He also heavily uses the stylistic device of characters whose actions are not motivated rationally.

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