Thursday, February 18, 2010
Lights, Camera, Focus
If you aren't familiar with Roman Polanski and the scandel which has followed him for over thiry years, there is certainly plenty of information to be found on the story. The point is that many find Polanski to be abhorrent. He has been in the news--again--for the last several months. Now with his new movie coming out in theaters around the world many cries of condemnation of the man will continue to be shouted along with calls to boycott his film. This leads me to the question for today:
Considering the charges against Roman Polanski, do you think his new film should be boycotted?
Roman Polanski is a talented director who has directed some great fillms. In my own Blogger profile you will find Repulsion in my list of favorite films. I am also a big fan of other Polanski films like Chinatown, Bitter Moon, The Pianist, and Death and the Maiden. The Tenant (French: Le Locataire) and Repulsion are two of the greatest psychological horror films ever made in my opinion. I will not be going to the theater to see his new film, but only because I just don't go to the movies anymore. I'm sure I will put The Ghost Writer in my Netflix queue when it comes out on DVD. Roman Polanski stands as one of my favorite film makers
However, as far as Polanski the person I am in no postion to make a judgement about him. I know something about the story but I have not followed it intensely, do not dwell upon it, and am not particularly interested in it. I don't know Roman Polanski and I am not going to judge him solely upon media reports.
He has an incredible life story that would be scoffed as unrealistic if it were put into a book. He lost his mother at the Auschwitz concentration camp, lost a wife to the Charles Manson family murderers, and went on to become an award winning movie director including the Oscar for Best Picture for The Pianist. He is excoriated by many, while championed and defended by much of Hollywood and the arts community throughout the world. Which leads to another question:
Is too much effort and money being put into extraditing Polanski?
Society seems to delight in scandal and digging up all of the sordid details of a celebrity's life until that person is ripped from their pedestal and dragged through the mud. Lately it's been Tiger Woods, once it was Michael Jackson. There have been politicians, actors, and authors who have had lives scrutinized and dissected and even destroyed. For many it's so great to see the "big" people brought down to size.
But aren't there more serious issues that we and our legal system should be focusing upon. Low life criminal scum who contribute nothing positive to society infest our communities as they are released by overcrowded court systems. Prisons are overcrowded with a criminal class that has adapted to being a criminal class until this prison system overflows its unredeemed population into the streets to prey on more victims. Rehabilitation is an ideal which is often talked about but rarely achieved.
By no means am I a champion of Roman Polanski the man-- it's just not something that is in the range of my concern. I just think that we should put his crime in perspective. For one thing the case was settled in civil courts from what I understand. I would say that Polanski has learned his lesson. He is probably not going to stop being an unproductive person and head out into the streets continuing a life of crime.
There have been other great creative individuals who have done bad things and were less than good people. Richard Wagner was rather a scoundrel who was loved by the Nazis, but his art is still highly regarded. Can you think of anyone whose work is respected but was really a nasty human and had a bad reputation put aside? Do you plan to see Polanski's The Ghost Writer? What do you think should happen to Roman Polanski?