Several of us from Harbor Theater went to see the iconic “Chinatown” (1974) at the recent Maine International Film Festival (MIFF) in Waterville and were “blown away” by what a great movie it is. Now we have arranged to bring it to Boothbay Harbor for all to see, and Ken Eisen, co-founder and programming director of the festival, has offered to come and speak to us about the film, and tell us a little about the festival, which just celebrated its 25th anniversary. Ken is also the booking agent for Harbor Theater, so we will be able to thank him in person for all he has contributed to our film program over the last five years.
“Chinatown” will be shown on Sunday, Aug. 21 at 5 p.m. (one show only). Wine and cheese will be available in the lobby, starting at 4:30 p.m. Ken will give us a short introduction and stay afterwards for Q & A. “Chinatown” is rated R and runs 2 hours and 11 minutes.
The screenplay, which received 11 nominations for Oscars and won the award for Best Screenplay, centers on Los Angeles private eye J.J. "Jake" Gittes (Jack Nicholson) who is hired by Evelyn Mulwray to investigate her husband in a routine infidelity case. Jake's investigation soon becomes anything but routine when he meets the real Mrs. Mulwray (Faye Dunaway) and realizes he was hired by an imposter. Mr. Mulwray's sudden death sets Gittes on a tangled trail of corruption, deceit and sinister family secrets as Evelyn's father (John Huston) becomes a suspect in the case.
Critics have routinely called it “one of the greatest films ever made.” Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian called it “unmissable.”
Charles Champlin of The Los Angeles Times said, “In its total recapturing of a past, in its plot, its vivid characterizations, its carefully calculated and accelerating pace, its whole demonstration of a medium mastered, Chinatown reminds you again that motion pictures are larger, not smaller than life.”
Here’s what Ken Eisen said about it in the MIFF catalogue: “Filled with iconic lines and scenes and a truly killer finale, CHINATOWN looked great in its 1974 day...and looks even more iconic and just plain terrific now.”
Join us for this superb 1974 thriller and welcome Eisen, a graduate of Colby College and co-founder of Railroad Square Cinema in Waterville (1978). He has been its programming director for 44 years and co-founded the film festival in 1998. He has also been an adjunct professor of film at both Colby College and three branches of the University of Maine and wrote film reviews for The Maine Times for 15 years. He is the president of Shadow Distribution which brought us “A Man Named Pearl,” along with other favorites of our 2007 film series. Please come to meet Ken and enjoy the film.