Essay about The Reality of Corrupt Power Hungry Men in the Film Chinatown

Essay about The Reality of Corrupt Power Hungry Men in the Film Chinatown

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Roman Polanski's Hollywood film Chinatown, directed in 1974, tells the story of Jake Gittes, a private investigator. The film focuses in on the dark reality of corruption behind power hungry men, making this a true neo-noir film. Chinatown reveals a depth narrative allowing the viewer to follow Gittes and uncover the secrets around the water dispute in California. I chose to bring focus to the significance of the male gaze and how this form of power can change and affect our views. The prominent female character in the film, Evelyn Mulwray, is a wealthy white woman. With her character comes active male attention and desire. Laura Mulvey's Theory of "The Gaze" supports this argument by studying the power and influence of a patriarchal society. With the support of Mulvey's theories I will describe three scenes in the film that reflect this gaze. The first example is when Evelyn first steps into Jake Gittes office and draws attention from all of the males in the room, secondly she meets Jake for lunch ands the gaze is again focused in on her and finally the scene where Jake and Evelyn flee from the retirement home. Evelyn is seen as heroic as she saves Jake from the scene, she then takes him home to bed signifying the end result of her desirable heroic moment.
Laura Mulvey's essay "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema" published in 1975 signifies this early look at feminism and film. Mulvey began this research early on using psychoanalysis theory first developed by Sigmund Freud (Mulvey, 1975). This is the study of the human mind and thought process which is influenced by our surroundings; occurring on a subconscious level. This is why Mulvey claims that with this comes power. Film writers know and understand the power of the huma...


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... one way of looking at Evelyn Mulwray's character. By the end of the film we realize there is much more to her story with the molestation she has received from her father and bearing his child. She is a confused and broken women. However, throughout the majority of the story we see her as a white wealthy women who gives into this theory of the gaze which is so commonly found in American film.



Works Cited

Mulvey, L. (1975). Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema. Retrieved from
https://moodle.yorku.ca/moodle/pluginfile.php/840096/mod_resource/con tent/1/88058015-Visual-Pleasure-and-Narrative-Cinema-by-Laura- Mulvey.pdf
Manlove, C. T. (2007). Visual "drive" and cinematic narrative: Reading gaze theory in lacan, hitchcock, and mulvey. Cinema Journal, 46(3), 83-108. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.library.yorku.ca/docview/1678206?accountid =15182

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