Thursday, August 29, 2019

Roman Polanski Insists ‘Most Of The People Who Harass Me Do Not Know Me’ Amid Venice Film Festival Backlash


Roman Polanski talks about the controversy that still surrounds him in the candid press notes for his new film "An Officer And A Spy".

Polanski's movie is set to debut in Competition at the Venice Film Festival Friday, though many — including some jury members — have slammed its inclusion, the Guardian reports.

Despite the filmmaker not attending the festival or doing any press, he did speak to French writer Pascal Bruckner ahead of the movie's unveiling.

Polanski, who pleaded guilty to having unlawful sex with a minor after being arrested in 1977 for raping a 13-year-old girl, talks about how his latest film takes place in 1984 and follows French Captain Alfred Dreyfus as he's wrongfully convicted of treason and sentenced to life imprisonment at Devil's Island.

Bruckner then asks the question, according to Deadline: "As a Jew who was hunted during the war and a filmmaker persecuted by the Stalinists in Poland, will you survive the present-day neo-feminist McCarthyism which, as well as chasing you all over the world and trying to prevent the screening of your films, among other vexations, got you expelled from the Oscars Academy?"

Polanski responds, "Working, making a film like this helps me a lot. In the story, I sometimes find moments I have experienced myself, I can see the same determination to deny the facts and condemn me for things I have not done. Most of the people who harass me do not know me and know nothing about the case. My work is not therapy.

"However, I must admit that I am familiar with many of the workings of the apparatus of persecution shown in the film, and that has clearly inspired me."

Polanski says his "persecution" started with the murder of his wife Sharon Tate.

"When it happened, even though I was already going through a terrible time, the press got hold of the tragedy and, unsure of how to deal with it, covered it in the most despicable way, implying, among other things, that I was one of the people responsible for her murder, against a background of satanism.

"It lasted several months, until the police finally found the real killers, Charles Manson and his ‘family'. All this still haunts me today. Anything and everything. It is like a snowball, each season adds another layer. Absurd stories by women I have never seen before in my life who accuse me of things which supposedly happened more than half a century ago."