The more directors and actors that sign the Polanski apologist petition, the more I want to forget I ever studied film and go into sales.
For anyone who hasn’t read the actual petition word for word, it reads as follows (and no, I’m not kidding):
Apprehended like a common terrorist Saturday evening, September 26, as he came to receive a prize for his entire body of work, Roman Polanski now sleeps in prison.
He risks extradition to the United States for an episode that happened years ago and whose principal plaintiff repeatedly and emphatically declares she has put it behind her and abandoned any wish for legal proceedings.
Seventy-six years old, a survivor of Nazism and of Stalinist persecutions in Poland, Roman Polanski risks spending the rest of his life in jail for deeds which would be beyond the statute-of-limitations in Europe.
We ask the Swiss courts to free him immediately and not to turn this ingenious filmmaker into a martyr of a politico-legal imbroglio that is unworthy of two democracies like Switzerland and the United States. Good sense, as well as honor, require it.
Obviously, I’ve bolded the phrases that stand out as most ridiculous to me, mostly due to their elitist and pompous nature. But please note especially that the rape of a 13-year-old child has been belittled to a mere “episode.” Wait, you mean to tell me he was arrested after 32 years for fleeing the country in escape of punishment for a MERE episode?! What absurdity!
Replace “an episode” with “unlawful sex with a minor” (as the law calls it), or more realistically (given the survivor’s account): “the drugging and raping of a 13-year-old girl,” and it doesn’t sound as petty somehow.
These are the things that seem to be trending mentions in Polanski’s defense: the fact that he survived Nazi-occupied Poland and an Austrian concentration camp, the murder of his pregnant wife Sharon Tate by the Manson family (as indescribably horrid as those events must have been – there’s no arguing that), and the fact that he is one of our most celebrated directors of contemporary film. I’m sorry, but none of these excuse Roman Polanski from pleading guilty to charges of unlawful sex with a minor (whom he also drugged and intoxicated, mind you) and fleeing the U.S. in order to escape punishment. Do we bring up a painful past – and so adamantly – for other men who have plead guilty to the same crime?
Oh, but then there’s Harvey Weinstein. (Of The Weinstein Company and co-founder of Miramax, for anyone who doesn’t know.) He released a statement saying, amongst other astonishing things, “Whatever you think about the so-called crime, Polanski has served his time.”
SO-CALLED crime? So now Harvey Weinstein is more apt than the law to determine what’s a REAL crime and what’s a SO-CALLED crime? God help us that he ever goes into law, because then, apparently, raping a minor would only be a SO-CALLED crime. But see, by calling it a “so-called crime,” again, Hollywood elitist assholes can trick themselves and their peers into thinking that no justice need be served, because there’s nothing of real importance or legitimacy to serve justice for.
Way to go, gang. Just keep telling yourselves that. Oh, and by the way, I’m pretty sure Polanski has NOT “served his time” by prancing around Europe freely, remarrying (to a woman 30 years his junior, of course) and having children, while making and releasing films and even winning an Oscar for one of them. Actually, on second thought, that does sound awful. Like, pure torture.
Weinstein also added:
It is a shocking way to treat such a man. Polanski went through the Holocaust and the murder of his wife, Sharon Tate, by the Manson family. How do you go from the Holocaust to the Manson family with any sort of dignity? In those circumstances, most people could not contribute to art and make the kind of beautiful movies he continues to make.
See, in Hollywood, making “beautiful movies” should excuse a fugitive of 30 years.
I’m at a point where I think I am more disgusted with Polanski’s supporters than Polanski himself. That said, we actually have no recent statements from Polanski to go off of. But the words of his supporters say it all. Too much, actually. All of these film festival directors, studio execs, actors, and of course, directors, have proven once and for all that they live in their own little world, with their own little euphemisms to belittle words like “rape” and “crime.” For those who live in this world – the one I’m writing from, the one that everyone else who’s outraged by this lives in – Hollywood has never looked so despicable.
There are two questions for Polanski apologists to consider: 1) What if it was YOUR daughter 30 years ago? and 2) In the words of Joy Behar, “What if Polanski was a plumber?” Would you still support him fiercely then?
Bottom line: Roman Polanski and his allies should feel lucky that he was able to “continue” to make “beautiful movies” all these years, instead of doing what he SHOULD have done – which is, serve time for the crime he pleaded guilty to over 30 years ago.
What’s not to understand about this, I ask you? ALL of you, listed below, who have (thus far) signed the “Free Polanski” petition? What’s NOT to understand?
Fatih Akin, Stephane Allagnon, Woody Allen, Pedro Almodovar, Wes Anderson, Jean-Jacques Annaud, Alexandre Arcady, Fanny Ardant, Asia Argento, Darren Aronofsky, Olivier Assayas, Alexander Astruc, Gabriel Auer, Luc Barnier , Christophe Barratier, Xavier Beauvois , Liria Begeja , Gilles Behat, Jean-Jacques Beineix, Marco Bellochio, Monica Bellucci, Djamel Bennecib, Giuseppe Bertolucci , Patrick Bouchitey, Paul Boujenah, Jacques Bral, Patrick Braoudé, André Buytaers, Christian Carion, Henning Carlsen, Jean-michel Carre, Mathieu Celary, Patrice Chéreau, Elie Chouraqui, Souleymane Cissé, Alain Corneau, Jérôme Cornuau, Miguel Courtois, Dominique Crevecoeur, Alfonso Cuaron, Luc et Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Jonathan Demme, Alexandre Desplat, Rosalinde et Michel Deville, Georges Dybman, Jacques Fansten, Joël Farges, Gianluca Farinelli (Cinémathèque de de Bologne), Etienne Faure, Michel Ferry, Scott Foundas, Stephen Frears, Thierry Frémaux, Sam Gabarski, René Gainville, Tony Gatlif, Costa Gavras, Jean-Marc Ghanassia, Terry Gilliam, Christian Gion, Marc Guidoni, Buck Henry, David Heyman, Laurent Heynemann, Robert Hossein, Jean-Loup Hubert, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Gilles Jacob, Just Jaeckin, Alain Jessua, Pierre Jolivet, Kent Jones (World Cinema Foundation), Roger Kahane, Nelly Kaplan, Wong Kar Waï, Ladislas Kijno, Harmony Korinne, Jan Kounen, Diane Kurys, Emir Kusturica, John Landis, Claude Lanzmann, André Larquié, Vinciane Lecocq, Patrice Leconte, Claude Lelouch, Gérard Lenne, David Lynch, Michael Mann, François Margolin, Jean-PierreMarois, Tonie Marshall, Mario Martone, Nicolas Mauvernay, Radu Mihaileanu, Claude Miller, Mario Monicelli, Jeanne Moreau, Sandra Nicolier, Michel Ocelot, Alexander Payne, Richard Pena (Directeur Festival de NY), Michele Placido, Philippe Radault, Jean-Paul Rappeneau, Raphael Rebibo, Yasmina Reza, Jacques Richard, Laurence Roulet, Walter Salles, Jean-Paul Salomé, Marc Sandberg, Jerry Schatzberg, Julian Schnabel, Barbet Schroeder, Ettore Scola, Martin Scorsese, Charlotte Silvera, Abderrahmane Sissako, Paolo Sorrentino, Guillaume Stirn, Tilda Swinton, Jean-Charles Tacchella, Radovan Tadic, Danis Tanovic, Bertrand Tavernier, Cécile Telerman, Alain Terzian, Pascal Thomas, Giuseppe Tornatore, Serge Toubiana, Nadine Trintignant, Tom Tykwer, Alexandre Tylski, Betrand Van Effenterre, Wim Wenders.‡