Sunday, September 27, 2009

Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired

"I think he has a dark side. A sad side. A veiled side. Given his childhood, he has a relationship to life and death he can't talk about. He has a strong vision of sadness and death inside him, but since he has such energy, such working power, such desire to do extraordinary things, he prevails."
Pierre-Andre Doutang, Polanksi's friend

So what is this one about?
Netflix tell us,
Director Roman Polanski is the focus of this documentary that explores the tumultuous events of his personal life, including the murder of his pregnant wife, Sharon Tate, and the sex scandal that prompted him to flee the United States for France. Interviews with Polanski's victim, Samantha Geimer, Chinatown screenwriter Robert Towne, actress Mia Farrow and others help to reveal the many sides of this controversial figure.
And how much did I pay to watch?
Nothing. We had DVRed this one when it premiered on HBO. I had been waiting to watch it, but events have decreed that I watch it and discuss it today.

And what did I think?
When I woke up at 9am and saw "Swiss arrest Polanski on US request in sex case" on the front page of the Washington Post website I honestly though I would throw up. I hauled my sorry, pajama clad self out of bed and marched downstairs to my Roman Polanski loving parents--the ones who instilled the same love for him in me--and glared at my mom. I said, "I just saw on the Washington Post..." and she said, "I know. We saw it." I probably let out an explicative or two and marched back upstairs to fume and feel sick.

Just. leave. him. alone!!!!!!!

He only escaped the Polish ghetto in World War II, had his mother die in Auschwitz, then had his beautiful, movie-star, pregnant wife--who he was amazingly in love with--be murdered at the hands of the Charles Manson family. So, I say again, what is the point of all of this LA County District Attorney? This happened over 30 years ago. Flipping ridiculous.

In fact, this new article on the Post website essentially say as much! Lets break it down, shall we?
"Polanski, 76, was arrested at the Zurich airport Saturday night by Swiss authorities acting at the request of the Los Angeles district attorney's office. Prosecutors there had learned of the Oscar-winning director's plans to attend a film festival in his honor, and passed a request through the U.S. Justice Department." Are you really telling me that the Justice Department has nothing better to do with their time?

"The arrest outraged the government of France, which has declined to extradite Polanski since he fled to his native land in 1978"
understandable. Good for France for looking out for one of it's talented citizens! "Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand issued a statement saying he "profoundly regrets that a new ordeal is being inflicted on someone who has already known so many during his life."" Merci, Monsieur Mitterand! C'est vrai!

"Polanski also received support from Poland, where he moved as a toddler and avoided capture by the Nazis, who put his mother to death in a concentration camp. "I am considering approaching the American authorities over the possibility of the U.S. president proclaiming an act of clemency, which would settle the matter once and for all," said Polish foreign minister Radoslaw Sikorski, according to the PAP news agency."
I hope that does happen. If his justice department can do something so retarded, surely Obama can take the ten seconds to tell them to back down and apologize.

"The arrest baffled some in Hollywood. "I think it's absolutely ridiculous," said Bill Flicker, a film editor who once worked with Polanski in France. "It's stupid and a waste of resources. I don't understand why they are doing it.""
Yes, it is ridiculous. Why are they doing it?

Even the girl he had sex with has said to let it go, "I don't carry any feelings of anger towards Polanski," she told People magazine in 1997. "I even have some sympathy for him, what with his mother dying in a concentration camp and then his wife Sharon Tate being murdered by Charles Manson's people and spending the last 20 years as a fugitive. Life was hard for him, just like it was for me. He did something really gross to me, but it was the media that ruined my life." jerks.

As I am sure you can tell, I am just simply horrified that this has even come up. He is clearly not a sex offender who poses a threat to anyone else. Just. Let. It. Go!
Moving back onto topic, the film was incredibly interesting. It painted a detailed and nuanced portrait of the media attention hungry judge who presided over the case and the county of Los Angeles who was not really interested in putting Polanski in prison for the rest of his life--most of the people in the film thought that he had truly already suffered enough and that considering the facts of the case that all the recommendations the judge received were fair and reasonable. And it did this while not really passing judgement on any of the characters involved in the story.

I would say if you don't know anything about Roman Polanski and haven't seen any of his films--shame on you--this would be a good introduction to him. Through the archival reels you can see why he was so appealing. In the clips of his films you can see the contained elegance of his filmmaking style. And in the news reels from 30 -40 years ago you can see the hard life he had. And you'll understand, like I do, that we should just leave him be.

So what is the rating? (out of 10)
I give it a 10. I'm sad I waited so long to watch it, but I'm glad I did, because if I hadn't watched it today it wouldn't have had the immediate, emotional effect it had.

And if you haven't seen Knife in the Water (Nóz w Wodzie), just go rent it. If only for the beautiful Polish language. Then rent the Pianist...because, be serious.

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