Polanski Talks It Out

Laurent Bouzereau and Andrew Braunsberg‘s Roman Polanski: A Film Memoir screened late this afternoon, and I don’t care what anybody says — this guy has gone through so much trauma and horror in his life, it’s a wonder he hasn’t put a bullet in his head or become some kind of alcoholic or drug addict. But that’s Polanski for you — feisty, resilient, a glass-half-fuller.

This is the first of two 2012 Polanski docs with Marina Zenovich‘s followup (or sequel) to Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired set to play the fall festival circuit.

Bouzereau has the “directed by” credit, but the film wouldn’t have happened if Polanski hadn’t agreed to sit down with Braunsberg, an old friend and producing partner, so let’s split the authorship.

The doc, handsome and smooth as silk and well-edited by Jeff Pickett and movingly scored by Alexandre Desplat, is just talk — two-camera coverage of Braunberg talking to Polanski about his life intercut with clips, news footage, stills and whatnot. That’s all it is. But it seeps in and packs a punch, especially during the first 45 minutes or so. You’d have to made of stone not to be affected by Polanski’s recollections of his childhood years under Nazi terror in Poland.

The film was shot in two stages at his home in Gstaad — the bulk of it during Polanski’s house arrest after being imprisoned in Switzerland in 2009, and a kind of epiloque or end coda shot after Polanski was totally freed by Swiss authorities.

Roman Polanski: A Film Memoir is friendly, of course, so it’s not impartial and tough or Mike Wallace-y in the slightest. Polanski pitch-forkers will dismiss it, I expect, as too much of a blowjob. But it tells the truth start to finish, and the emotion that Polanski tries to hide when he talks about his mother, who was killed in a Nazi concentration camp, is obviously unassailable. The theme, finally, is about “never say die.” Even his detractors have to admit that Polanski is one tough bird.

76 thoughts on “Polanski Talks It Out

  1. OK, hold on. I get that it’s a “friendly” thing, but do they even address the whole child rape incident? How do they approach it? Or did they just let that elephant hang out in the corner?

  2. Dude, I’m not a pitchforker, I’m just curious how they addressed it. Did they not even mention it? Wouldn’t most people watching a documentary on Polanski expect them to say SOMETHING about an incident that has haunted him for decades, effectively exiled him from a number of countries, and left him reviled, fairly or not, by massive swaths of people?

    Are we to the point now where we can’t even bring it up without being accused of witch huntery? Perhaps my mistake was calling it “child rape”…sorry. I’ll be gentler in the future (sheesh!).

  3. But doesn’t that just make it a movie you’ve already seen? What’s unique about this is that it looks at Polanski without the thing most people define him by. It’s an endless argument that neither side will ever win.

  4. “This is the first of two 2012 Polanski docs…”

    Thank God, because the Polanski documentary crowd is definitely underserved. He’s this century’s equivalent of the body-switching movie.

  5. The moral gymnastics of the Polanski defenders is always entertaining. Now we have a single mother defending a child rapist, let me get some popcorn and then proceed please…

  6. He raped a kid. That’s not up for debate. I still watch Chinatown at least once a year, and I believe him to be a genius filmmaker that’s been through tons of heavy shit. But I don’t care.

    If someone fucked with my kid, and I later found out they had been through serious trauma in their life, it’s not going to make my kid, or me, feel any better.

    “Pitchforkers”?

    Fine. I’ll take that label. Better than being labeled a child rapist.

    At least I’m a “pitchforker” over something important. Not people that wear gold toed socks, people that save seats in a food court, anybody that disagrees with me, etc.

  7. Nakedman: “”Pitchforkers”? Fine. I’ll take that label. Better than being labeled a child rapist.
    At least I’m a “pitchforker” over something important. Not people that wear gold toed socks, people that save seats in a food court, anybody that disagrees with me, etc. ”

    Fuck yeah.

  8. MILKMAN SAYS…

    I saw BITTER MOON in Detroit at a rat’s nest of a theatre. Me and two other patrons at the 8:05 p.m. show, a stultified Mae Questel-ish old lady and a baptist preacher in a Ralph Furley powder blue jumpsuit. During the third act, the preacher writhed in his seat, occasionally raising his arms like he was on a roller coaster. I miss Detroit.

  9. “feisty, resilient, a glass-half-fuller”

    he’s borne his life on the lam from statutory rape charges, while living in total comfort, with courage, honor and distinction. stay strong, Roman Polanksi! your fellow statutory rapists who didn’t have a choice but to serve their sentences in prison whisper your name in hushed tones of reverence.

  10. I got nothing to really add, other than nakedman up there is completely correct. If Kubrick murdered someone, would you say “Forget about it, it’s not that big of deal. Let bygones be bygones.”? Your talent doesn’t excuse whatever horrible things you’ve done. And the fact that he won’t come back to America to face his punishment shows how cowardly he really is.

  11. “he’s borne his life on the lam from statutory rape charges,”

    No, not “stautory” rape – full on “rape” rape.

  12. LEXG SAYS…

    Usually avoid black and white films like they’re Willie Nelson-ish, downtown Burbank horse trainer women, but just saw REPULSION, after it had been on a shelf in its netflix sleeve for three years unwatched, and it’s kind of AWESOME.

    The UNBEARABLE stuff with the rotten food aside, this is one of the only films, besides ELECTRIC DREAMS ’84 that nails the SEVENTH CIRCLE OF HELL existence that is apartment living.

    I wanted more of the main dude’s FULL BLOWN ASSHOLE friends in those pub scenes.

  13. “It’s over. Give it up. The pitchforkers are a joke.”

    I know, right? I mean, it’s not like he did something REALLY bad like cut some dude’s hair 50 years ago. ;)

  14. For god’s sake the man is a master film maker, whose beautiful pregnant wife was butchered by a pack of wild animals like in THE GREY, in one of the seminal events of the 20th century.
    His family was murdered in the holocaust. He lived on the streets in the Polish Ghetto and survived like the guy he would later dramitize in THE PIANIST. It’s not like he is an uneducated hispanic migrant worker who got drunk on friday and raped his 13 year old half sister right? The man is a Master FILM MAKER. HE made GODDAM CHINATOWN.right?
    Well Jerry Sandusky was the greatest defensive college football coach ever. Where’s his documentary? Phil Spector developed the FUCKIN wall of sound. WHy is this man in JAIL? Roman Polanski is a genius. He has made some wonderful movies ( and a couple of clunkers, ( 9th Gate anyone? ) But the thing is,for whatever reason a long time ago he did something really, really bad. and because of some other rat fuck political dickhead prosecutor and judge, he has yet to pay for it. Unfortunately this kind of thing just doesn’t ever go away.

    On the lighter side, Michael Caine fell asleep and got locked in a theater overnight.

  15. “At least I’m a ‘pitchforker’ over something important” is pretty funny, and kind of staggering in its presumptuousness (that’s a pretty damn ineffective pitchfork you got there, nakedman, ’cause I bet Roman’s very cozy at the Martinez even as we speak)…but still. Josh Massey FTW.

  16. It’s always the same BS argument : If you think Polanski got a raw deal then you are somehow supporting his crime.

    These things are not mututally exclusive – he’s a great artist, who endured a horrible series of life tragedies, committed a terrible crime, and got handled awfully by an inept judicial system.

    The classification of his as a “coward” for fleeing based on what he knew, in contradiction to his plea deal isn’t “cowardly” – it’s smart. He would have been an idiot to stay, and he faced one count “unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor” – it’s distinct from rape in that county in that time.

    How can you people not have the facts right after all these years? Think whatever you want but get the facts right at least.

    Anyway, the docs look interesting – Wanted & Desired is a good film – lays out the case in a coherent way.

  17. DON MURPHY SAYS…

    (He sits on a black leather couch surrounded by dozens of empty Jolt Cola cans, bought on ebay for $2,000.)

    Just finished this here ROSEMARY’S BABY. Supposedly this big deal movie, but I never seen what’s so special about it. What the hell are they all looking at in the crib at the end? You don’t get to see squat. Lame-o.

  18. “At least I’m a ‘pitchforker’ over something important” is pretty funny, and kind of staggering in its presumptuousness (that’s a pretty damn ineffective pitchfork you got there, nakedman, ’cause I bet Roman’s very cozy at the Martinez even as we speak)…but still. Josh Massey FTW.

    Huh?

  19. JJ,

    I believe he was going to get screwed over and I also believe he is a coward. And a rapist.

    The fact that people defend this man sickens me.

  20. Wells to Nakedman: Due respect & no offense, but people who think like you sicken me. But…yoi know, have a nice day and all that.

  21. “Wells to Nakedman: Due respect & no offense, but people who think like you sicken me. But…yoi know, have a nice day and all that.”

    Doesn’t bother me in the least. I have anti-child rape on my side. My conscience is clear.

  22. Ira as Don Murphy for the garlands and cash prizes.

    And nakedman is Buk95. Duh.

    Good one, David A.

    “You Americans are so backwards when it comes to drug-induced child sodomy. Hurumph!”

  23. Care to explain exactly why people like nakedman sicken you, Jeff? I don’t get it. You mean, people that can’t look past a man being a child-rapist? Oh, we’re so judgemental, not letting poor Roman off for one measly little offense when he was younger, and see, this documentary shows he’s suffered SO MUCH, and he’s SUCH a brilliant artist. I just…the mind boggles. And to have an intelligent, largely perceptive person like Sasha defending Polanski as well just BAFFLES me, the way gaybashing baffles me or austerity as government policy baffles me. I…don’t understand.

  24. The only person who was there with Roman and knows what happened was the victim. AND SHE HAS FORGIVEN HIM.

    Time to move on people.

  25. “The only person who was there with Roman and knows what happened was the victim. AND SHE HAS FORGIVEN HIM.”

    Good thing the criminal justice system has never relied on victims to determine guilt or sentencing. Who knows how bad Polanski might have been treated back BEFORE she had forgiven him. We might never have gotten to see The Ninth Gate.

  26. Ray
    You are actually a turd floating in a bowl, a sub moronic idiot. The criminal justice system relies on victims ALL THE TIME. To press charges. To testify. To offer proof. Take what ever wrong position you want, by saying something so sub intelligent you prove to us all that your side’s position is indefensible on every level.

  27. I wonder what Polanski would have to do before Jeff and the rest of the “ARTpologists” would stop making excuses for his nonconsensual drug-induced sex assault. What sort of affront to the Movie Godz would it be before they start considering Polanski should have some “obligation to society” to be “accountable for his actions”, and that surviving the Holocaust doesn’t qualify you from a “Get out of one (1) rape conviction free” card.

    I think it’d have to be on the level of Polanski striking all prints of “Chinatown” from release, except for a new ‘Super Deluxe Edition’ where Noah Cross shoots first, and when Gittes is told to forget it, it’s Chinatown, he responds by screaming, “NOOOOOOOOOOO!!” Oh, and presented in the wrong aspect ratio. Then Polanski should be burned at the stake – I mean, we’re talking about crimes against humanity here.

  28. “The only person who was there with Roman and knows what happened was the victim. AND SHE HAS FORGIVEN HIM.

    Time to move on people. ”

    Yeah, he was really good at picking a victim. Many victims even blame themselves. Doesn’t mean he didn’t still rape her.

    Also, it’s not as though I’m actively spending my life trying to get him imprisoned. Nothing for me to move on from. I just don’t give sexual predators a free pass because Chinatown is awesome. That’s all.

  29. ” Take what ever wrong position you want, by saying something so sub intelligent you prove to us all that your side’s position is indefensible on every level.”

    No, it doesn’t prove that at all. But thanks for playing.

    “nakedman: What are you actively spending your life doing? ”

    Why?

  30. nakedman

    It does in fact prove that.
    The victim says she never wanted this attention. The victim says she wants it to stop. You don’t know whether the victim lied about her age, you don’t know WHAT happened in that jacuzzi nor do I. Polanski obviously didn’t think what happened was a problem. If the victim now doesn’t, then stupid retard IT ISN’T A PROBLEM.

    He wants to know what you are doing with your life because it is hard for the mentally challenged to make a living. Are you on the dole?

  31. All these people just dismissing raping a child, like it’s no big deal.

    That is what is truely sickening.

  32. Name calling means you are insecure in your position.

    He committed the crime of child rape. I don’t care what this woman says all these years later. He should’ve done his time in the past.

    And either way, whether he did his time or not, I don’t have to be okay with him as a person, and forgive him, for the disgusting crime of child rape.

    Do you rape children often? Did you rape a kid in your past? Because I can’t think of another reason someone would be so forgiving of child rape unless they had a skeleton in their closet.

    See how easy it is to throw silly, unsupportable, insults into the mix?

  33. “All these people just dismissing raping a child, like it’s no big deal.

    That is what is truely sickening.”

    It is sickening. And they wouldn’t do it if it was the creepy guy that lives down the block.

    But this guy made some masterful films, so they bend over backwards making excuses for him.

    How long until they start blaming the victim? “She was asking for it!”

  34. nakedman
    Get on to your special ed classes your position is defeated by intelligence.

    Redbeard
    I dismiss nothing. All I have is the testimony of a precocious little girl that anything happened at all. The shrinks all said Polanski wasn’t a pedophile. Pedophiles are scum and should be shot. Polanski claims he was having sex with a girl whose mom said she was 16 (legal in France) and who never complained to him about it. A bit slimy, sure, but much much worse happens in Hollywood. The girl didn’t say anything for days and then told her opportunistic mom about it. Accepted money from Polanski. And now says let it go.

    Redbeard, since you don’t seem mentally unwell like nakedfool, contemplate this. Arguing with your woman she lunges at you, you move away she hits the wall and gets a black eye. Cops are called, she says you were fighting, you are arrested and charged. You are now a woman abuser, awful. Wife then says it was not what it seemed, charges are dropped. Should the neighbors shun you nevertheless. I mean, all we have is HER version, yours is not credible is it since you are the obviously guilty man?

    Anyway,the absolute certainty with which you spew shit on the internet is why we had Salem, McCarthy, McMartin etc.

  35. You didn’t deny the idea that you may be a child rapist.

    Interesting.

    The insults prove your insecurity. And keep making excuses for a child rapist.

    Good day. And as Dennis Miller once said (before he went to the dark side) “if you ever feel the need to fuck a child, you’ve just got to kill yourself.”

    Perhaps you should copy/paste that, print it up, and keep it in your wallet as a reminder.

  36. nakedman

    I feel sorry for your family, your wife in the loveless marriage and your kids who mock you behind your back. Get the help your parents never gave you.

  37. I feel bad for you, and the fact that you identify with Polanski a bit too much.

    I feel sorry that because of your predilection for young girls, you probably haven’t given your wife a roll in the hay in years. I feel sorry for your kids, who feel your stares, but not stares of love. Stares of…well, you know.

    Get the help you should’ve received as a child. It is a cycle.

    Do you still talk to your uncle?

  38. nakedman
    I don’t identify with Polanski then or now. I don’t even like most of his films.
    But as you have shown, your type imagines molesters everywhere, even here. Your type is the type that creates lies and comes to believe them, that thinks the Bible is a user’s manual. You are unable to have a reasoned argument because you lack reason. You are just sad.

  39. None of what you said in post 53 is true. Even the stuff about yourself. You have proven yourself to be dishonest.

    I don’t imagine molesters everywhere. I don’t think Jeff is a molester and he defends Polanski. Just something about your posts makes me sickened by you.

    And Polanski is a rapist. No two ways about it. How much you choose to defend him is up to you.

  40. Even if Polanski’s victim had been of legal age, she was repeatedly asking him to stop. Also, she was drifting in and out of consciousness due to – I believe – champagne and a quaalude. If you went to a friend’s party, nodded off after having a few too many, and came to when someone was penetrating you, would you be okay with it? Or would the perpetrator’s level of talent determine how you’d react?

    Victims who become victimizers are the lowest of the low.

  41. So, Blore gets upset that people call a rapist a rapist, and so starts inventing arguments from others that were never stated.
    Seems like textbook scumbag to me.

  42. I’d probably feel bad about the Nazis and Manson shit, if the guy didn’t use ‘em as an excuse to deflect from his crime. No one felt bad about the Menendez Brothers’ history; so why should we give Polanski a pass?

  43. The Menendez Brothers were really the best comparison you could come up with?

    That would only make a bit of sense if Samantha Geimer killed Roman Polanski with a shotgun.

    Apples and Oranges DZ. Apples and oranges…

  44. I like Polanski a lot. A friend of mine smoked a doobie with him on a balcony at Cannes after the Barton Fink premiere and said he was a very friendly, laid-back guy. His movies are cool, too.

  45. “A friend of mine smoked a doobie with him on a balcony at Cannes after the Barton Fink premiere and said he was a very friendly, laid-back guy.”

    And now your friend has a size 12 poop shoot.

  46. What’s always telling is that the supporters can’t bring themselves to admit what he did. You want to label people “pitchforkers,” and say he makes great art so he should be excused for his so-called crime because he made great art? Fine – but have the balls to own the fact you are condoning the sodomy “rape rape” of a minor.

    I write this as someone who did in fact defend Polanski for years as the victim of cultural misunderstanding – until the grand jury transcript came out and laid bare the awful truth.

    And for all you who love to point out “the victim forgave him and wants move on!” let me point out in return she does not say that she lied about any of it. As a minor at the time she is doubly protected against any charges of perjury.

    Which again, brings up the question, if child rape is excusable as long as great art is being produced just what crime is too heinous to forgive?

  47. Damn, I hate missing out on a Polanski post. These are always fun. Gotta disagree with your whole premiss Blore.

    Correct me if I’m wrong but the victim is saying she forgives him right? Not that he didn’t do it? Then no, it is not up to her. The victim does not get to choose if someone is prosecuted or not. It does not work like that.

    However, if she were to come out and say that it flat out didn’t happen it would be pretty tough to convict someone if the best and only witness testifies that he is inocent.

    That is the difference between this and your scenario with the wife and the husband. The wife does not get to choose if the husband is prosecuted or not either. If the DA has a videotape of it actually happening he could give two shits if she wants to prosecute or if she will testify. He doesn’t need it. However other than a videotape there is no stronger evidence than the testimoney of the victim. If there was no video tape and the wife testifies that the husband didn’t do anything there is no way to get a conviction and so it would be dropped.

    So ya, you are wrong, and I didn’t call names or anything.

  48. Oh great. Jeff has to trot out another Polanski post. Yep, Polanski should get a pass but if you wear a certain kind of athletic shoe you are a horrible person. Awesome. On to a topic that is actually important. Bring back LexG.

    LexG POWER!!

  49. Meegosh
    There are no names to call those with superior thought processes.
    There is no videotape of the rape. She and her family took his money. She doesn’t say she forgives him she says she wants this to go away. That is not recantation I agree but it is hardly agreeing to testify for the prosecution.

    And btw to be clear, they are not trying to prosecute the guy- the evidence is lost, Geimer won’t testify. They want him now for FLIGHT and for his guilty plea, which he only gave to have the damn thing over ironically.

    As far as I know there’s no videotape of that Jacuzzi

  50. Oh dear you are a smug one aren’t you. Let me try to hold your hand a little better. The videotape thing was an example.

    You got on to Ray because he said , and I quote, “Good thing the criminal justice system has never relied on victims to determine guilt or sentencing.”

    Your respons was “You are actually a turd floating in a bowl, a sub moronic idiot. The criminal justice system relies on victims ALL THE TIME. To press charges. To testify. To offer proof” and then of course you proceded to be mean.

    You see your problem is you only hear what you want to hear (or read), not actually what the person said. See my video tape example. You apparently just don’t get the point.

    Of course what you said is correct, the justice system does rely on victims all the time. They rely on them to testify. A victims testimony is one of the best pieces of evidence you can have.

    But thats not what Ray said. What he said was they do not rely on the victims to determine guilt or sentencing. If the victim wants to help, great, makes the job easier. If the victim doesn’t want to help that is there perogative, but if the evidence is still there to convict then what the victim wants makes no difference

    So, the point being, what the victim wants is irrelevant. We as a society will not put up with child rapists, period. If someone rapes a child, any child, I want him locked up. I don’t care what the child says 30 years later. If he did it once he could do it again and the fact that the first child is ok with it doesn’t mean the next child will be. That is why the vicitm doesn’t get to decide.

    YOu can say he was getting fucked over by the judge and you might be right. But the judge was acting within the law and he was in fact a child rapist, so I don’t see the problem.

  51. “At least I’m a ‘pitchforker’ over something important” is pretty funny, and kind of staggering in its presumptuousness (that’s a pretty damn ineffective pitchfork you got there, nakedman, ’cause I bet Roman’s very cozy at the Martinez even as we speak)…but still. Josh Massey FTW.

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