(sub)Text: Trauma and Repetition in Roman Polanski’s “Chinatown” (1974)

Roman Polanksi’s 1974 film “Chinatown” seems to have little to do with its titular neighborhood, which is the setting for only one horrible and final scene. Chinatown functions instead to represent the traumatic moment that drives this story just because it is hidden from view—a place indecipherable even to the hard-boiled private investigator who has seen it all … the place he doesn’t go … the place that bothers him to talk about … the place where inaction and evasion are the only ways to avoid causing harm. Wes & Erin discuss what Chinatown has to do with “Chinatown,” and how the theme connects the seemingly disparate themes of police work, political corruption, water rights, and incest.

The conversation continues on our after-show (post)script. Get (post)script episodes by becoming a paid subscriber at Patreon or directly on the Apple Podcasts app. Patreon subscribers also get early access to ad-free regular episodes.

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