The Chinatown Dilemma
Chinatown - © 1974 by Paramount Pictures Corporation c/o BFI National Archive.

The Chinatown Dilemma

Reframing Film


Fri 26 July 19:30

Waterside 3 Event Space, Watershed

"Consuming a piece of art is two biographies meeting: the biography of the artist that might disrupt the viewing of the art; the biography of the audience member that might shape the viewing of the art. This occurs in every case." - Claire Dederer, Monsters: A Fan’s Dilemma

Chinatown presents us with a stark example where those two biographies converge: the film is critically acclaimed as one of the best films of the 1970s, if not of all time. It was nominated for 11 Oscars®, 11 BAFTAs, 7 Golden Globes.

In 1977 the film’s director Roman Polanski was arrested for drugging and raping a 13-year-old girl. He subsequently fled the US and continued his career in Europe. Can we – should we – separate the art from the artist? This panel will explore the ethical and moral questions opened up by the inclusion of Chinatown in this year’s festival.

Panellists include Pamela Hutchinson (film critic/historian), Julian Baggini, (Philosopher), Mark Cosgrove (Cinema Rediscovered Founder) hosted by Steph Read (Watershed Curator).

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