Saturday, October 8, 2011

Roman Polanski: Chinatown, Cul-De-Sac, Wanted and Desired

You probably have noticed that Chinatown has been added to Netflix Watch Instantly, so I thought I'd add a quick Saturday entry with some other Polanski related suggestions. The documentary Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired is well worth your time even if you don't think you're interested in his story or the controversy surrounding his escape from statutory rape charges in California.

Chinatown (Roman Polanski, USA, 1974, 130 minutes)
Netflix: With a suspicious, porcelain-skinned femme fatale (Faye Dunaway) bankrolling his snooping, private eye J.J. Gittes (Jack Nicholson) uncovers intricate dirty dealings in the Los Angeles waterworks and gets his nose slashed for his trouble. Meanwhile, his financier harbors a nasty family secret. Director Roman Polanski reimagines 1930s Los Angeles with an onionlike story that reveals itself one complex layer at a time in this classic neonoir.  Netflix link.

Cul-De-Sac (Roman Polanski, UK, 1966, 99 minutes)
Netflix link: Roman Polanski directs this tense, dark comedic thriller about two wounded criminals, Dickie (Lionel Stander) and Albie (Jack MacGowran), who hole up at a secluded seaside castle belonging to old, meek Englishman George (Donald Pleasence) and his young, vibrant French wife, Teresa (Francoise Dorleac). Soon, only Dickie is left to terrorize the couple, and bizarre relationships between the three begin to form. Jacqueline Bisset co-stars.  Netflix link.

Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired (Marina Zenovich, USA, 2008, 99 minutes)
Netflix: This penetrating documentary explores the tumultuous events of director Roman Polanski's personal life, including the murder of his pregnant wife, Sharon Tate, and the controversial sex scandal that prompted him to flee the United States for France. Highlights include an interview with Polanski's victim, Samantha Geimer, as well as candid conversations with Chinatown screenwriter Robert Towne and actress Mia Farrow.  Netflix link.

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