This week’s box office breakdown is coming up in just a bit, but first we have a bit of late breaking news…
Just when you thought it was safe to go into an Internet comment thread, Roman Polanski has issued a rather dramatic statement using the refrain, “I can remain silent no longer!” In it, he basically recapitulates the argument made in “Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired” and, ironically, argues that the documentary is the reason his case has taken on a second wind very late in the game. Also, he tacitly admits that he committed a crime on that ill-starred night in 1977, and refers to its victim as “the victim.” Not, of course, that that changes anything, nor am I sure this is anything really new, but it’s interesting. You can read the complete text of his statement here on a New York Times pdf, via Anne Thompson.
I’ve been guilty of quibbling over what I see as the often overheated rhetoric and assumptions made about certain aspects of this case, here and elsewhere. I’d also probably write my review of the highly watchable but perhaps not so unassailable Marina Zenovich documentary which Polanski believes restarted the whole affair, a bit differently now than I did back when I wrote it. Still, I think three things are safe to say: 1. Polanski committed a very serious crime on the night in question — no matter how I might quibble over the wording and what precisely has been legally proven and not, there is no way that giving drugs to and then having sex with a thirteen year-old is not, at the very least, an act of child molestation; 2. Polanski is a great film-maker; 3. 1 and 2 have nothing to do with each other.
Having said that, I think Anne Thompson is right. Polanski did a terrible thing and has admitted as much, but is hardly a danger to anyone at this point and, given that he has now been incarcerated twice, there really should be, as she says, “a way to fix this.” You can and should make a case that wealthy people like Polanski should not be given special treatment, but I’m not convinced that a poor man on a first-offense charge would necessarily have received harsher treatment on the same charge, under similar circumstances, at the same point in time.
Of course, me and Thompson are both moved by a rather selfish desire of our own. “The Ghost Writer” was a first-rate throwback to a caliber of straightforward craftsmanship we rarely see these days. I know that should have no bearing on how this is all worked out in the end but, still, I’d like more, if that’s possible.