Thursday, 9 October 2008

Roman Polanski - Wanted and Desired: BBC4 Monday Oct 13th, 10pm

I'm pleased to see the much-admired Polanski doc airs on BBC4's Storyville strand next Monday. The blurb goes likes so: "Thirty years ago, Roman Polanski was convicted of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor. After serving 42 days in prison, he fled the US and has never returned. Roman Polanski - Wanted and Desired reopens this complex and controversial case and explores what happens when one of the world's most famous directors gets trapped inside one of his own movies."
I just now re-read the chapter of Polanski's memoir Roman wherein he revisits the sexual episode with the young girl during a Vogue Hommes photo-shoot; his subsequent arrest, to his apparent surprise; those 42 scary days he spent in Chino jail on the orders of the curious Californian Judge Rittenband; and his flight to London and then Paris once he realised that further and protracted punishment might be in store.
So I'm curious to see how the doc tells this tale. I'm aware Rittenband is a controversial figure; also that the girl, now a woman, who has forgiven Polanski, is nonetheless considered a victim of a grave assault by those who have studied the police reports.
The only thing that bugs me about that blurb above is the stuff about Polanski 'getting trapped inside one of his movies', which piles into an especially high load of old media horseshit about Polanski. They first said that in 1969, after Charles Manson's ratbag hippie acolytes murdered Polanski's pregnant wife, and why? Because he'd made Rosemary's Baby. It's slovenly journalism that exhibits a strange and sudden newsman's piety toward the supernatural. Does it work in reverse too? Is Polanski 'trapped' inside The Pianist since the Nazis murdered his mother in a concentration camp?
Anyhow, we shall watch and see...

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