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In 1977, Roman Polanski was arrested in Los Angeles on charges he gave drugs and had sex with a 13-year-old girl he was photographing for Vogue. Eleven months later, having pled guilty to one count, he fled to Europe before sentencing. This film examines that year-long period, using archival footage of the media frenzy and of Polanski's life before the charges, clips from his films, and contemporary interviews with many of the principles - attorneys, the victim, and Polanski's friends and associates. Polanski remains enigmatic, but portraits emerge of the machinations of justice and of a judge more interested in his image than his word or the law. Written by
It is interesting that this "documentary" was released as efforts were being made to extradite Polanski to the U.S. to stand trial for his alleged drugging and repeated anal raping of a minor. The film seeks to excuse his behavior based upon his horrific past including the loss of much of his family to the Nazis and to excuse his fleeing trial because of the judges alleged reneging on some deals he'd cut with Polanski regarding which crimes He'd would be charged with. The shameless way in which this film slants every detail to curry sympathy for this repeat pedophile strains credulity. It is unlikely his affliction can be traced to his parents demise and even if it did it would not excuse his crimes merely how they would be punished/treated. One of the films characters even accuses Polanski's detractors of playing the blame game while simultaneously blaming the victims parents for allowing her to be photographed, unchaperoned, by Polanski. Admittedly this was not a wise move , but who'd think that a high profile personality with such resources would stoop to such a heinous and ham-fisted act.
The film did gather some fascinating information though, namely regarding the support Ploanski enjoys from a number of Film industry moguls. One is left to speculate on why this may be but in the end they are besmirching their own characters. Even the country of France, of which I am personally quite fond of for a number of reasons is left looking barbaric in their harboring of Polanski, though it should be pointed out that three quarters of it's people favor his extradition. It is one thing to dismiss sex with children under 16 years of age , it happens here certainly, but not with a forty-three year old. And to turn a blind eye to drugging and raping a 13 year old child is inexplicable.
I have to give the film credit for weaving a story in a smooth and well produced fashion and for piecing together a substantial cast of participants who were involved with Polanski and his case at varying levels, but the degree of bias and the yawning lapses in logic and moral bearing are ultimately inexcusable. I would not be surprised to learn that Mr. Polanski funded the project himself.
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