Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Specialty Box Office: 'Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck' Primes HBO Pump, Russell Crowe's 'Water Diviner' Is Spotty Specialty Box Office: 'Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck' Primes HBO Pump, Russell Crowe's 'Water Diviner' Is Spotty Friday Box Office: 'Adaline' Bumps 'Furious' for a Day; 'Kurt Cobain' Big in 3 Theaters Friday Box Office: 'Adaline' Bumps 'Furious' for a Day; 'Kurt Cobain' Big in 3 Theaters Remembering Film Critic Richard Corliss (1944-2015) Remembering Film Critic Richard Corliss (1944-2015) Cannes: Denis Villeneuve Says Drug War Film 'Sicario' Is "Very Dark" and "Quite Violent" Cannes: Denis Villeneuve Says Drug War Film 'Sicario' Is "Very Dark" and "Quite Violent" How Do You Solve a Problem Like Erika? Universal Hires Husband to Write 'Fifty Shades Darker' How Do You Solve a Problem Like Erika? Universal Hires Husband to Write 'Fifty Shades Darker' 'Age of Ultron' Director Joss Whedon on Self-Doubt and Why It's His 'Rio Bravo' 'Age of Ultron' Director Joss Whedon on Self-Doubt and Why It's His 'Rio Bravo' Watch: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tina Fey, Patricia Arquette and Amy Schumer Hilariously Slam Hollywood Sexism (NSFW) Watch: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tina Fey, Patricia Arquette and Amy Schumer Hilariously Slam Hollywood Sexism (NSFW) CinemaCon: How Tom Cruise Stole the Paramount Show CinemaCon: How Tom Cruise Stole the Paramount Show Meet the Director of 'Tangerines,' the 2015 Dark Horse Oscar Nominee You Missed (Exclusive Video) Meet the Director of 'Tangerines,' the 2015 Dark Horse Oscar Nominee You Missed (Exclusive Video) LA Film Fest Unveils Horror Slate, More World Premieres, Zoe Cassavetes Film LA Film Fest Unveils Horror Slate, More World Premieres, Zoe Cassavetes Film Cannes: Directors' Fortnight Lines Up Vet Auteurs and American Indies Cannes: Directors' Fortnight Lines Up Vet Auteurs and American Indies Joe Wright's 'Pan' Gets Fall Release Date: Good News or Bad News? Joe Wright's 'Pan' Gets Fall Release Date: Good News or Bad News? Seeing Ryan Gosling's 'Lost River' Through Composer Johnny Jewel's Eyes (STREAM SOUNDTRACK) Seeing Ryan Gosling's 'Lost River' Through Composer Johnny Jewel's Eyes (STREAM SOUNDTRACK) 3 Women Genre Directors Get SF Film Society Fellowships 3 Women Genre Directors Get SF Film Society Fellowships Here's Why Jon Stewart Quit 'The Daily Show' Here's Why Jon Stewart Quit 'The Daily Show' Watch: From Tarantino to Cronenberg, Great Directors Talk the Art and Anxiety of Filmmaking Watch: From Tarantino to Cronenberg, Great Directors Talk the Art and Anxiety of Filmmaking Specialty Box Office: 'True Story' and 'Child 44' Flop as 'Ex Machina' Lures Audiences Specialty Box Office: 'True Story' and 'Child 44' Flop as 'Ex Machina' Lures Audiences 10 Films Booed at Cannes That Every Cinephile Should See 10 Films Booed at Cannes That Every Cinephile Should See 5 Things You Didn't Know About Lars von Trier, Who's Going Back to Work 5 Things You Didn't Know About Lars von Trier, Who's Going Back to Work 7 Things to Learn from 'Mad Men' Creator Matthew Weiner About Compelling Storytelling (EXCLUSIVE VIDEO) 7 Things to Learn from 'Mad Men' Creator Matthew Weiner About Compelling Storytelling (EXCLUSIVE VIDEO)

Polanski Redux: Who Lied?

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood September 30, 2009 at 11:53AM

As the Roman Polanski imbroglio continues to unfold in various quarters, I am fascinated by the swirling reactions to his legal situation.
19
Thompson on Hollywood

As the Roman Polanski imbroglio continues to unfold in various quarters, I am fascinated by the swirling reactions to his legal situation.

It's murky to say the least.

One can see why Polanski avoided sentencing at the time by the judge in the case, as revealed by Marina Zenovich's documentary, Wanted and Desired. He had good reason not to trust the judge. Now the retired prosecutor Zenovich quoted in the doc is saying that he lied to her. UPDATE: Here is Zenovich's response:

“I am perplexed by the timing of David Wells’ statement to the press that he lied in his interview with me for the documentary ROMAN POLANSKI: WANTED AND DESIRED. Since June of 2008, the film has been quite visible on U.S. television via HBO, in theaters and on DVD, so it is odd that David Wells has not brought this issue to my attention before.

“For the record, on the day I filmed Mr. Wells at the Malibu Courthouse, February 11, 2005, he gave me a one-hour interview. He signed a release like all my other interviewees, giving me permission to use his interview in the documentary worldwide. At no time did I tell him that the film would not air in the United States.

“Mr. Wells was always friendly and open with me. At no point in the four years since our interview has he ever raised any issues about its content. In fact, in a July 2008 story in The New York Times, Mr. Wells corroborated the account of events that he gave in my film.

“I am astonished that he has now changed his story. It is a sad day for documentary filmmakers when something like this happens.”


And the motivations of the LA prosecutors over the years are obscure. Why didn't they pick him up years ago? Why now?

And yet Polanski's defenders overstate his innocence, acting as though he did absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. He behaved badly. He pled guilty. He skipped sentencing. He is not, as a rich and "humane" filmmaker, entirely above the law.

Just because the victim of his crime is seemingly unscathed and grown up doesn't mean Polanski should not be held liable, now that the wheels of justice are again turning, for what he did at the time. It's strange, because looking back from the perspective of 30 years, we see both the young man and the old man, the libertine and the gifted eminence grise with a best director Oscar. It's because of the strange time lag that it is difficult to parse the right and wrong in this case.

This article is related to: Directors, Players, Media


E-Mail Updates