Sunday, February 12, 2012

He's a criminal (Ava and C.I.)

"It was not safe there, people get killed there." So says an ass in a film full of them. The film is Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired and we'd managed to avoid this garbage. But we added a note to "Foul but not funny" last week and Jim noted in his note that we'd seen Carnage last Sunday. A number of e-mails poured in (e-mail address is asking how could we when the film was directed by Roman Polanski?

We saw the film because of Jodie Foster and Kate Winslet. Roman Polanski is sometimes one of the great directors of the big screen. Rosemary's Baby, Chinatown, Death and the Maiden and Repulsion are his classics. The rest? Not so good. (The Vampire Killers is a solid B picture.) We honestly weren't even thinking of the film as a Polanski film. (Neither was he, judging by the pedestrian direction.) If others have a boycott policy regarding Polanski's films, good for them. We don't. We were going to the movies and wanting to see something we hadn't seen and something that wasn't going to disgust us -- the latter ruled out a number of films sight unseen.

Ty responded to the e-mails, often seeking comments from us, all last week.

We're commenting here. Yes, what Roman Polanski did was rape. We've never stated it was anything else, check the archives. We don't justify it, we don't minimize it.

We also don't hate, for example, Rosemary's Baby because of what Polanski did offscreen. We can (and will) refer to him as "sometimes one of the great directors of the big screen" and at the same time acknowledge that he raped a 13-year-old girl.

One e-mailer found it "particularly interesting that you've never weighed in on Roman Polanski Wanted and Desired in all your years of reviewing."

We cover broadcast TV.

When Jane Fonda returned to films with Monster-In-Law, this site chose to cover her comedy films. And that was a group effort that quickly got farmed out to us. Fine. Jane's a remarkable comedian, one of film's funniest actresses. And we were happy to do our part to help remind people of that in the lead up to the premiere of Monster-In-Law. But other than the comedy films of Jane Fonda, we're not remembering any time when we -- just us -- have covered films. There are film pieces here at this site. More often than not, we don't take part in them and, when we don't, that's noted in Jim's note to the readers. There was a piece here about who the real stars of X number of years ago were. And our participation was minimal but one of us (C.I.) still had five friends who were very angry that they weren't mentioned in that piece. Because of reactions like that (and that's just one example), we participate in "hype" pieces -- what's coming up in film -- and we participate in pieces about people who are dead. That's the extent of it here because we piss off enough people we know just in covering TV.

The reader (who's been reading this site for at least three years) felt we were avoiding reviewing the so-called documentary.

What we were avoiding was having to sit through that garbage.

But for the reader we did.

It didn't change our opinion of Polanski as a film maker (often inspired) or our opinion of his being guilty of rape.

It did depress the hell out of us.


1) Mia Farrow. Mia's a wonderful person (and one we both know) and we don't always agree. That's fine. We are strongly pro-abortion and Mia is just as strongly pro-life. (She actually is pro-life and not anti-abortion.) In every disagreement, we can usually see consistency on Mia's part. With her opinion of Roman, we don't. She knows him. One of us does as well (C.I.). So? Mia was outraged (rightly) when she caught Woody Allen having an affair with one of her teenage daughters. Mia wondered if the daughter was even mature enough to know what was happening. The daughter was many years older than Roman's 13-year-old victim. And that daughter wasn't said to have been drugged. For Mia to show up in the 'documentary' vouching for Roman is a bit strange.

2) Sharon Tate. A beautiful woman. Also one who has been dead for sometime. So it's a bit pathetic to watch this 2008 'documentary' repeatedly try to get sympathy for Roman Polanski by using his second wife's memory over and over. Yeah, second wife. You won't catch that in the documentary. Tate was murdered in 1969. Roman was caught with a 13-year-old in 1977. Are we to believe Roman was nonfunctioning and insane for 8 years?

3) In the film, a clip is shown of Dick Cavett asking Roman in the early 1970s about the press and Polanski insists they turned on him. They did but not due to Sharon's murder. They turned on him because they built him up and he was a success. He tries to pin everything on Sharon Tate, doesn't he? If she hadn't died, the press would still love him!

The press roots for you when you're down and tears you up when you're soaring. That's what the press does.

It's cute the way the 'director' of this documentary distorts the press after Sharon's death. Was Roman accused of having killed his wife? Even what the 'director' displays doesn't back that up. But the reality is what Roman's home was known for kinky sex -- rightly or wrongly -- and for rituals. After the deaths at the house (Roman was out of the country), people began talking about what went on there. That's only natural.

Is it fair? No, but it's not new and has gone on since the press began.

It would be months before the nutcases of the Charles Manson family would be discovered to be the killers. In all the time that followed, various people were suspected. Since Polanski was out of the country when the murders took place, the idea that he was a press suspect is rather ludicrous.

4) The rape victim.

She's an adult now and she just wishes people would leave Roman alone.

Guess what? We don't care.

It wasn't about her. It was about power. That's what rape is. And she wasn't the only underage girl he was with.

Fortunately, today, if the police come out on a domestic abuse call, it's not supposed to matter whether or not the woman with the black eye or bleeding lip says, "Don't arrest him!" The man's supposed to be arrested. (Or the woman if the attacker/victim roles are reversed.)

We're glad that, in the late 90s, she finally got the last half-a-million plus from him from her civil lawsuit. And that may have influenced how she sees the case now.

5) Though the victim tries to make nice and say nice things about Polanski, the 'director' wants to sully and muddy the 13-year-old. She'd had sex before, a man insists. Had she? They don't back it up with any evidence. But to even go there? This woman who says nice things about Polanski, even she gets trashed in the film.

6) When you don't have evidence, by all means rely on what someone's father overheard in the bathroom of a country club. If these urinals could talk, eh?

7) If you were married to a sexist pig with a sexist brother whose claim to fame in the last two decades has been how many bitchy things he could say about Barbra Streisand, we're not surprised you rush to defend Roman and base that defense on how he threw a great party.

8) Following a 'witness' in the 'documentary' recanting some statements he makes in the 'documentary,' the 'director' insisted that didn't matter because "we still have a judge who was instructing the prosecutor and defense lawyer on how to behave, and doing it based on how he would look in the media." What we still have is Roman Polanski taking a plea deal and admitting to actions with a 13-year-old that are illegal in the United States and were illegal when they took place. And that's before we get into the fact that he drugged her. That's what we still have in place.

The 'director' of the 'documentary' wants to get worked up over the fact that Roman's a victim!

What's he a victim of?

45 days in jail for rape?

45 days in jail after he entered a guilty plea?

Oh, that's right, he's a victim of what the judge was going to do.

What was the judge going to do?

Something nefarious the 'documentary' tells you. And when that happened, believe you us, Roman was going to be a victim.

So he left the country.

The 'director' fails to grasp that there's no victimization of Roman Polanski here. He entered a guilty plea (to unlawful intercourse) and he was sent for a psychiatric evaluation that lasted 45 days (when everyone thought it would take 90). And then he leaves the country because he's sure the judge is about to do something awful to him. Though nothing awful had yet to be done.

9) The US is one country. Polanski's not from the US. He chose to leave it and, when he did, he knew that being a fugitive from justice would mean he couldn't come back to the US without risking imprisonment. He knew that. He may or may not have grasped how extradition would make it harder for him in other countries. But he knew there was no coming back to the US.

He made his choice. If he doesn't want to live with it, he turns around and comes back to the US to face the legal system.

Those are the choices today. He raped a 13-year-old girl. He admitted to "intercourse" with her in a plea agreement. He testified to the court that it happened. His actions are not in dispute. Excuse us, his crimes are not in dispute.

It's really cute the way Roman's defenders are so offended by 'justice.' They are so silent so often when innocent people are convicted. But for Roman Polanski who publicly admitted to his guilt of a serious crime, they whine about the so-called lack of 'justice.' And they whine about how unfair it was for Roman to be in a prison because "people get killed there." But they don't say a damn word about prisons except as it applies to Roman Polanski.

In other words, these dangerous prisons (we're not disputing that they're dangerous) are not fair for Roman Polanski. But they're fine and dandy for the many Americans who are incarcerated there? Apparently so since the people in this documentary* will whine to the cameras for a celebrity but won't give a second thought to the prison when the one being sent there isn't a celebrity but, for example, a scared kid that just got sentenced on some silly three-strikes-you're-out law that tied the judge's hands.

Roman has directed four great films. He may direct four more great films or even more than that. But it won't change what took place offscreen. And we don't confuse offscreen and onscreen. You might, for example, forgive a tyrant who yelled and screamed you on set if the film ended up having one of your best performances. That's fine. But this isn't about the time Roman ran in Jack Nicholson's trailer and attacked Jack's TV set with a broom or when Roman reached over and pulled out Faye Dunaway's hair on the set of Chinatown. This is about Roman Polanski drugging and raping a 13-year-old girl.


* We are not referring to Mia who has no problem calling out unfair sentences in the legal system and revolting conditions in US prisons.
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