Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Roman Polanski: Should he stay or should he go

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On watching the media , coverage for Roman Polanski I wonder where I stand on the subject. I really do not know all that much about the real facts. I wonder how many of those that are out there demonizing OR celebrating and begging for release really know the FACTS. A large part of the artist community, of which I live somewhere on the fringe but still a part, seems to overwhelmingly be calling for his release. He's an artist. It's been 30 years. Cut him a break he's won Oscars. He is brilliant. He suffered so much at the loss of Sharon Tate (His wife when Manson family went nuts).

The first time I remember really thinking about this subject was back in 2002. Watching the Oscars with some acting friends, a big deal was made about Roman not being able to be there in Hollywood to pick up his award. He would have been arrested. There was a lot of chat. Well that's BS. He should be allowed to pick up the award. It was 25 years ago. Who cares about all that.

I have until now kept my mouth shut on the subject. I felt unable to argue what my gut was stating as I did just not have all the facts. Listening to some CNN coverage this morning. (Tuesday 10/6/09) I decided to look into this more to educate myself and know the facts. FROM HBO.COM - Synopsis of Documentary "On March 11, 1977, Roman Polanski was arrested in Los Angeles and charged with the following counts: furnishing a controlled substance to a minor, committing a lewd or lascivious act on a child, unlawful sexual intercourse, rape by use of drugs, perversion and sodomy. Less than a year later, on February 1, 1978, Polanski drove to LAX, bought a one-way ticket to Europe, and never came back." READ ON AT http://www.hbo.com/docs/docuseries/romanpolanski/

Polanski has been bouncing around countries, mostly France and his native Poland, avoiding extradition. The only reason he was going to Switzerland was to pick up a lifetime achievement award. I wonder now did US officials put up the Zurich Film Festival to lure Roman out of hiding.

HIDING? He has been making films and winning awards all this time. But why is he hiding? Did he think that eventually, US / LA officials would forget about him? Did he think he would someday march into Hollywood triumphant?

OK. I think I might be tipping the hat a little as to where I stand. OK here we go. I think he is a coward. I think, way beyond breaking the law, Roman Polanski violated the innocence of a child, used his place of power and took advantage of a situation. But I suppose his ego must have been devastated when his power was not enough to lure a minor, wannabe actress/model, into his bed. He required drugs to loosen her up. I feel for his tragedy but he was a sexual predator. This was not an act of passion, some freak in the moment oops, got carried away.... After a photo shoot, Polanski invited this girl back for a second. This time giving her champagne and sedatives.

THIS FROM http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article6851581.ece
Samantha Geimer, who was the teenager in question and who has called for the case against Polanski to be dropped after she reached a settlement with the director, recalled in 2003 that she began to feel uncomfortable after he asked her to lie down on a bed. “I said, ‘No, no. I don’t want to go in there. No, I don’t want to do this. No’, and then I didn’t know what else to do,” she said in an interview. "We were alone and I didn’t know what else would happen if I made a scene. So I was just scared, and after giving some resistance, I figured well, I guess I’ll get to come home after this.”

FROM http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_Polanski Geimer testified that Polanski gave her a combination of champagne and quaaludes,[36] a sedative drug, and "despite her protests, he performed oral sex, intercourse and sodomy on her",[37][38][39] each time after being told 'no' and being asked to stop.

ALSO FROM TIME Frédéric Mitterrand, the French Culture Minister, said that he was “stupefied” and added, in reference to the tragedies that have marked Polanski’s life: “I strongly regret that a new ordeal is being inflicted on someone who has already experienced so many of them.” ... In much of Europe Polanski is portrayed as a wayward genius who has fallen victim to American bigotry; in the US he is seen as a pervert who forced a teenager to drink, strip and have oral sex during a modelling session at the home of Jack Nicholson, the actor.

OK, I think this basically sums up the argument made by many. But what about the girl that was raped. Did she suffer? Do TWO WRONGS make a right? Is that the French legal stance? I strongly regret that a criminal is finally paying for his crime - that a criminal was hailed by colleagues knowing full well his deviant act is finally answering to his acts. His career has definitely been helped by his tragedies. Making a good movie every 10 years amidst indy and foreign films that I personally could give a crap about. If I want art I go to the theater. I go to films for escapism, unless sleep is needed. But his infamous status gave his lesser films far more notice than the average director. FREE PR!!! I can appreciate that as an artist myself but disgusted as a citizen. If this 13 year old girl was raped by her father, uncle, teacher, or priest, would we be so forgiving? This guy has been given more passes by Hollywood than Clinton.

FROM http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_Polanski - Polanski was initially charged[44] with rape by use of drugs, perversion, sodomy, lewd and lascivious act upon a child under 14, and furnishing a controlled substance (methaqualone) to a minor. These charges were dismissed under the terms of his plea bargain, and he pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of engaging in unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor.[45]

At this point, I think Polanski should sit in Swiss Jail for about 6 months to a year and than go free. This is most likely what he would have had to suffer back in the day anyway. Perhaps less. Instead by fleeing prosecution, Roman has already avoided being raped himself. I have to assume Swiss prison is less dangerous than US. Of course, here he would have most like been in one of the white collar golf course prisons. Perhaps a few days at Rikers Island would be more than enough of a punishment. Basically give him 1 year or first anal rape, what every happens first. Instead he is only one to appear at the Oscars less than Woody Allen.


OK enough retoric. Now for a laugh!!!

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