I’m starting to realize that New York is much like Hong Kong, except that there are obviously more Chinese people here. I haven’t even been to Chinatown yet, but last night I watched the movie with Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway and my guess is that it’s pretty much the same.
It’s a great movie with beautiful dialogue if you can get past the ridiculous Chinese accents, which I kinda can because as well as granting a little historical context – the movie was filmed in 1973 – it’s also pretty funny. There’s this classic exchange between Nicholson and Dunaway about his dark past:
Her: What were you doing [in Chinatown]?
Him: Working for the District Attorney
Her: Doing what?
Him: As little as possible.
As little as possible! Which I can relate to, a little.
Then there’s a killer line spoken by the bad man – the really, really bad man – much worse than you might expect in a movie screened in a park:
You see, Mr. Gittes, most people never have to face the fact that at the right time and the right place, they’re capable of ANYTHING.
Talk about your power dynamic. The dialogue in this movie could crush rocks.
We were in Bryant park, nestled quietly behind the New York central library. Every Monday in the summertime they have a free outdoor movie. You rock up and they give you water and popcorn and sunglasses, and they lay you down on the grass with your mates, and you snack and drink beer, and they show you an incredible movie. My friends had a baby which cried at me but I don’t think that comes with the thing.
It’s amazing. I’ve been here seven days and not one has passed without me thinking “wow, this place is amazing”, and that’s all I can say because I’m knackered and can’t think of more words but mostly I’m in love.
The streets are dirty and there are people in the way and it smells funny sometimes but nobody has ever been snooty, and the buildings are tall and the people talk to each other – they really do.
I knew a British guy who moved here and he loved the flags everywhere and the sass and the “thank you for your service”. I always thought it was kooky but now I totally get it.