Due to the move of the blog to Wordpress posts from Jan 2012 onward will have commenting disabled (when I remember to do it)
Cheers - AE

Monday, 5 October 2009

Polanski supporters surely can't argue with this.

Simon Heffer is one of those journos that I sometimes find myself agreeing with but who usually comes across as having an authoritarian streak a mile wide. He seems rabidly anti-drugs for example, and I reckon might clutch his chest and collapse at the idea of legalising them. Ditto prostitution and porn and drinking as much as you feel like at whatever time someone is prepared to serve until and so on. On the plus side he thinks Gordon Clown is a tool, has apparently little but contempt for much of Laborg, and seems pessimistic that Cameron will turn out to be much better. Still, broken clocks and all that, but what he's said about Roman Polanski is spot on for me.
Roman Polanski's crime doesn't cancel out his art - and vice versa.

One film of Polanski's especially strikes me as a masterpiece – The Pianist, the superbly told, filmed and directed true story of a Jew who managed to escape Hitler's genocide and emerged, in one piece, from the ruins of Warsaw as the Russians moved in late in 1944. He did a good Oliver Twist four years ago – helped by a superb screenplay by our greatest living playwright, Ronald Harwood – and I don't doubt that while some of his other work leaves me cold, it has its merits.

But if a Polanski film comes on the television, do we put out of our mind that he has admitted to the horrific treatment of a 13-year-old girl, and just enjoy his work? Or is the deed he was accused of – drugging, raping and further sexually assaulting a minor 30 years his junior – so foul that we should abjure him altogether?

... I fear he must have what is coming to him. It is not just for his grave offences against his victim, but for the way he jumped bail and has avoided, until now, the long arm of the United States authorities for 32 years. It is this that makes a mockery of the rule of law, and those who call for bygones to be bygones fail to understand that the law is bigger than any of those who break it, or their victims. When I next watch The Pianist, I fear Polanski's crimes will be at the back of my mind: but in a separate compartment.
Seems reasonable. Crime isn't like going overdrawn on your bank account and great philanthropic works, much less recognition for arts and entertainment, shouldn't act as if it was some kind of credit that had been overlooked from the balance. But equally the philanthropic works would still stand even if it turned out they were done by someone who was a secret bastard. Personally Polanski's films don't flick my switch any more than Gary Glitter's music does, so in the same way that I'll remember him as a kiddy fiddler first and only incidentally as the Leader of the Gang I'll think of Polanski as a dirty old man who took the whole casting couch thing waaaaaaay too far, but who also made some well regarded movies. If they're the sort of thing you like then the movies are as good as they were before, just as drugging and anally raping a girl barely in her teens is pretty vile even if it was done by a heart surgeon and charitable fund raiser who'd personally saved hundreds of lives and helped improve numerous others.
Related Posts with Thumbnails