I never knew anything about it. Instead, she progressed at first through prizes at the prestigious Leeds and Chopin Competitions, then rose steadily to prominence; now, at 61, she is at the top of her game. Her pianos are her musical partners: she has two Steinways, one made in , the other from the mid s; the former, beautifully mellow, features on her Schumann record, while the other, "big, brilliant and very strong," as she says, accompanies her to London recitals. The pianos live in a studio opposite her house — she has long been a Londoner.
Her human partner, Robert Cooper, director-general for external and politico-military affairs at the EU, lives next door when he's not in Brussels. Her Schumann CD is out now on Decca. You can find our Community Guidelines in full here. Want to discuss real-world problems, be involved in the most engaging discussions and hear from the journalists?
A Prize-Winning Pianist And His Taste for Paradox
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A Prize-Winning Pianist And His Taste for Paradox - WSJ
Even while falling in love with Evelyn Mulwray, he is capable of eventually concluding - together with us, the viewers who followed his every move and his every look - that he saw enough of the evidence proving that Evelyn indeed killed her husband Hollis Mulwray. The revelation of Gittes' mistake at the very end of the film is stunning, and it concerns the role of unacknowledged preconceived notions in the interpretation of objective images. Together with Gittes the "private eye" , we realize at once that he—and we—did not really see things we thought we saw. Rather, we saw things which we heavily interpreted following our own pre-existing concepts of processing certain images: a man embracing a young girl is seen as a man with an illicit young lover, a woman lying about her marital affairs is seen as a woman lying about her potentially criminal jealousy towards her husband.
The mechanical devices of "objective seeing" did not provide accuracy because we still lacked a proper way of processing these objective images, a seemingly incongruous subjective quality that turns out to have been indispensable for Gittes' real seeing of the images in front of him—trust. Evelyn asked him to trust her even without his knowing what her situation was all about, but Gittes decided that his "objective" knowledge—based largely on his objective imagery—was more conducive to finding the truth than any subjective trust.
He was wrong, and as a consequence of his mistake Evelyn was killed and Catherine was taken away by Noah. Gittes' mechanical hyper-objective seeing proved unable to become truly objective without the addition of the delicately subjective ingredient of personal trust. Chinatown is a film about an outsider's Gittes' gradual development of a vision which will at the end match the victim's double vision of Evelyn Mulwray who saw both how her father was seen by the world a respectable patriarch and by herself "very dangerous, very crazy".
Evelyn's victim's double vision is not a universalizing one the way it is in Repulsion and The Tenant precisely because of the nature of victimization—only one man in the world can be seen as both one's father and an abuser— but it is universalizing in its complete destruction of Evelyn's ability to have a "normal" relationship with any man. Though it shares the overall concerns of the victim's double vision with Repulsion and Le Locataire , and also the specific concerns of seeing and the "eye" with Repulsion , as well as the aural part of the film's closing scream by Catherine with Le Locataire , Chinatown is a very different film from those other two and enacts a radical departure from their way of dealing with the victim's double vision.
As opposed to the two films where the victims give up attempts to communicate with others and end up sealed within their own vision, Chinatown moves in the direction of a victim's sharing of her double vision. Even though Evelyn dies at the end by being shot, tellingly, through the eye , and Gittes is defeated, she manages to pass on to him the truth about herself and her victimizer Noah, and her victim's double vision will live on in Gittes.
Chinatown thus leaves a space in which the victim's vision overwhelms the victim so that she can only become murderous or suicidal, and explores a potentially positive tension on the border between the victim and the outside world, where the outsider genuinely tries to grasp what is happening, and the victim finally shares with an outsider her unique knowledge. The emphasis is not on the subjectified victim's vision, conveyed by the expressionistic cinematography of the other two films, but rather on the attempts of an outsider to see things as objectively as possible and find out who the victim is.
The film thus employs "realistic" cinematography though highly stylized to bring in the retro atmosphere of the classic film noir thriller which enacts a significant step in Polanski's overall progression from the more expressionistic towards the more realistic cinema, even though Chinatown was made two years prior to Le Locataire.
While enacting a significant new moment of dealing with the victim's double vision and being included in this essay for that reason, Chinatown is the only one of the films discussed here which does not have the same close-up shot of the part of a body framing the film. Rather, the beginning close-up opening the film—of a photograph metonymically standing for the most objective seeing possible, taken by Jack Gittes' associates—is answered at the end by the last shot of the film, a long take of the scene of Evelyn's murder in which the camera moves back and upwards into the air, as if the film itself now assumes for the first time the omniscient gaze above it all and comments on Gittes' "close up" and "objective" mechanical seeing which caused Evelyn's death.
While the original script by Robert Towne had Evelyn survive and Noah get caught, Polanski fiercely fought for the present ending in which Evelyn dies.