I like Roman Polanski for his artistic talents. I think he is a great director. I loved his films like Chinatown, Bitter Moon, Death and the Maiden and The Pianist. They go straight in to the list of my all time favorite movies. I remember the first time when I went to see the movie “Bitter Moon” in Raagam theatre in Thrissur when I was in college. I didn’t know anything about Hugh Grant or Victor Bannerjee (who appeared in a guest role) but it is the Adult certificate that was displayed in the movie’s posters that caught my interest. But when I came out of the movie hall, it was not the nude scenes but the movie itself that haunted me for days. There is no doubt that Polanski is a great movie director. I would rate him to my top favorite directors at anytime.
But, he has been accused of abusing a 13 year old girl almost 31 years ago. He has reportedly drugged and had ‘unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor’. Would I not blame Polanski just because he is an artiste, a great artist at that? Would I not blame him just because he has contributed so much to the world cinema? The answer is NO. Polanski, the person is different from Polanski, the director. The person who has committed a heinous crime has to pay the price, no matter how much time has passed since. He was trying to escape after the incident, fleeing from country to country.
It is pitiful to see the directors like Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese, David Lynch etc have signed a petition calling for an “immediate release” of Polanski. The French cultural minister said “he is a wonderful man”. I don’t understand what these people are thinking about. Are celebrities above the law? If Polanski is innocent and if this case has been made to corner him, he has to prove it in the court, rather than feeling from country to country. The very fact that he was trying to escape from the case all these years make us suspicious about the man.
Many say that the girl (now a woman) has withdrawn the complaints against Polanski. Even if it is so, the law has to take it’s course. And what really prompted the woman to say that she wants this whole thing to end? “Decades of publicity as well as the prosecutor’s focus on lurid details continues to traumatize her and her family”. Now should the man be acquitted of the charges because of this? I had high regards for directors like Martin Scorsese, but now I have lost my respect for them. There is nothing really Holy about Hollywood.
Related reading: Unforgivable Roman Polanski
(Image courtesy: Guardian.co.uk)