Film: Double Bill: Philip Saville, Director of `Metroland' on his Ideal Cinematic Pairing

Les Enfants Du Paradis Dir. Marcel Carne Chinatown Dir. Roman Polanski
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The Independent Culture
I WOULD go for opposites. Well, these are a good contrast. Probably a lot of people don't know the actors in Les Enfants Du Paradis. Jean- Louis Barrault was a very famous mime artist (his wife also), and it is really a story about a company of actors and mime artists in the 18th century. This troupe of mime artists see crime taking place in the boulevards and express it all in mime. It's also about how the leader of the mime troupe falls in love with a woman he can't really get to. He sees here from afar and describes her in mime.

What particularly interests me is that at the time the film was made, Paris was under siege and France was occupied by Nazi Germany and it's all about the spirit of freedom.

I think it's a film I saw when quite young and it has stuck in my memory. It was recently voted the finest film in France and we have to take them seriously now that they have won the World Cup - apart, of course, from their tremendous cinema history.

Chinatown I like because it has one of my favourite actors, Jack Nicholson, and one of my favourite directors, John Huston, who played the father discovered at the end of the film.

The screenwriter Robert Towne loosely based it on one of the Greek tragedies. It can be traced to Euripides, a Greek writer of around 500BC. It has an astonishingly powerful representation by Polanski of the undercurrent of corrupt American politics.

It's a lot to do with the hiving-off of the water supply in the hands of private enterprise in America, which we are now experiencing in England. The local people's crops and so on came under duress.

It is also a film about a private detective and I love that genre of film very much: the lover in society who moves in the establishment and in the backwaters, areas of crime and respectability together.

I think these films would make a terrific double bill if I could have a break with a Macallans whisky in between. And I would like to invite a few friends along and have a good sound system.

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