24 Frames

Movies: Past, present and future

« Previous | 24 Frames Home | Next »

Cannes 2010: Directors want Polanski exonerated

May 13, 2010 |  4:25 pm

Roman Polanski has gotten support from a broad range of Hollywood personalities. Now a few auteurs are joining the crowd, at the exact moment a spotlight is shining on them.

Pol Bertrand Tavernier, Mathieu Amalric and Jean-Luc Godard — all of whom have films at this year's Cannes Film Festival ("La Princesse de Montpensier," "Tournee" and "Socalisme," respectively) — are among those who have signed a petition asking the Swiss government to refuse an extradition request from California, just a few days after a California judge denied Polanski's request to unseal testimony in the 33-year-old case.

The group wrote that it was aiming for "a gesture of solidarity accompanied by an appeal to Swiss justice" and was "signed by film makers, and only film makers, who have in common that, like Godard, their works have been named as Official Selections of this year’s Cannes Film Festival." It seeks, the petition said, to free Polanski from "the Kafkaesque isolation that has been his lot for the past seven months."

French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy, on whose site the petition was first posted, added that "No matter how brilliant the films presented at this new festival, a man will shine in his blinding absence: Roman Polanski." (Of course Polanski would likely be absent even without the extradition request, as he has no new movie to show.)

Still, the petition does come from a group, and at an event, that has long been friendly to the beleaguered filmmaker. Polanski has premiered several movies here over his illustrious career, winning the Palme d'Or eight years ago for "The Pianist."

It hasn't come up yet, but you can bet at least some of the directors — both those who did and those who didn't sign the petition — will be asked about Polanski as they promote their films. And when it does comes up, you can bet that many will be as passionate about the U.S. calling off the extradition as they are about the power of global cinema.

— Steven Zeitchik


Photo: Roman Polanski on the set of "The Ghost Writer." Credit: Summit Entertainment

Comments () | Archives (32)

The comments to this entry are closed.

Swiss Goverment: Damn. Okay guys. You here that? Jean-Luc Godard just wrote in. The show's over. We gotta release Polanski guys. He also wants a review committee on transit and infrastructure by the end of the month.

The sheer gall of these Polanski apologists. By their actions, you'd think his crime was jaywalking, instead of rape and sodomy of a girl.


Dear Super Cool Directors at the Cannes Film Festival: Of all the ways the international film community could shine a light on the troubles of the world right now, this is the way to go. Now more than ever, famous fugitive convicted sex offenders need love.

"Kafkaesque isolation"? Unlike Kafka's protagonist, Polanski knows what he is accused of. I don't see the connection at all.

Oh, fercryingoutloud, who cares what a bunch of directors think? Are they so special? What a bunch of pompous anuses.

If these hacks like the child rapist Polanski so much then maybe they should offer to switch places with him.
Sounds like a reasonable proposition.

If we won't put up with this jazz from Catholic priests, what makes film directors think they should get away with it?

Some folks are so forgiving of child rape. I'm glad most aren't.

Polanksi is a rapist. His talent as a filmmaker is irrelevant. He should go to jail.

These sick pigs obviously don't care about little girls being drugged and raped. Just goes to show how far from reality some of these scumbags are.

Plenty of directors signed, many did not. I wonder how the Polanski political climate is in Cannes this year? What will silence over freeing him cost? Or even outright calls for him to finish what he started? After all, as directors, they are "looked up to" as leaders on their films. A man who rapes and walks away, lives to rape another day. What a great example to set.

Justice IS for sale in Califonria for the right amount of money or influence.

Bernard Tavernier, Mathieu Amalric and Jean-Luc Godard. OK. Good. We can add these guys to the sexual offender registry.

It is a shame that directors would join a movement to deny justice taking its course. The less embarrassing question would be whether the "industry" would stand up for a lesser artist who is being pulled up by the law. The more embarrassing question would be - What business of directors or actors is it to attempt to influence the course of justice? Who are these people, and what do they think of themselves? When we have a system of law, no matter which country it is being practised in, we automatically are required to respect its natural course, no matter how tedious, contentious or frustrating its way of functioning may be. If people don't understand this basic tenet of civilized living, they should be ashamed of themselves.

Outrageous. Polanski is a convicted pedophile who needs to grace the pages of California's Sex Offender Registry. For foreigners to get involved with our laws is stupid. Polanski has yet to serve time for his crimes against that 13-year-old little girl he sodomized at Jack Nicholson's house. Bring him back to America and throw the book at this pond-sucking creature. Justice will prevail.

No one is questioning his talents and expertise as a film director, but would these same people want him exonerated if the victim had been their daughter ?
An individual's career is completely irrelevent to their legal dilemmas. Polanski pleaded guilty to a serious felony, then ran away from the penalty, he is a fugitive and where I may disagree with the stringencies of some California and or US laws, why should he be treated any differently just because he is famous and wealthy ?


Directors want a convicted pervert to be set free. Wow.

Exonerated? The man is a conviced rapist. He drugged and raped a 13 year old girl. He might be a great filmmaker, but that does not absolve him of his crime. He needs to step up and be a man and accept responsibilty for his actions.

I think these "Hollywood personalities" need to re-read their Kafka.

Of course, Roman Polanski should properly face the blind scales of justice, but these same hecklers demanding his head have blind eyes when it comes to Neil Bush and this looting of Silverado Savings & Loan. Where were they when they were needed for that? Usual hypocrites.

What Polanski did 30 years ago was wrong , we all agree on that. Even he does.

But should the wishes of the victim in this case be taken into consideration? (she wants it all dropped) Will the reopening all of her wounds satisfy anyone or undo the damage? Who would it help? She has been financially compensated ( $$ 500k) and tried to move on with her life, shouldn't society allow that ? wouldn't a trial just compound the wrong and the damage she has suffered? The D.A's idea of justice is in conflict with justice for the victim.

Why would a judge refuse to unseal relevant 30 year old documents? Would they perhaps show that Polanski is correct regarding the deal reached back then?
Is pursuing this case really a good use of limited resources of a city which is already under extreme budget duress, and has problems dealing with serious crimes that are happening now? or is all of this just an expensive tax-payer financed grandstanding campaign stunt by the D.A?
I don't want my taxes paying for a now-harmless-to-society man to have an expensive show trial that may not even succeed. I don't want would be politicians using the law to promote their political aspirations. I can think of plenty of ways the money could be far better spent. You want to pay for it?
Just asking, perhaps one of you guys can answer for me?

I wish the media would dispense with the euphemisms. "Had unlawful sex with a minor" sounds like a whitewash of reality--Polanski forcibly raped and sodomized a young girl against her will. Where do you think Polanski would be if he were black instead of a famous white Jew?

Headline should read "Cannes Auters sisgn petetion in support of child molestation"
Hollywood continues it's support of child sexual abuse.
What if Roman polanski were Father Polanski, would they still show their support for molestation?

Since this is so overblown, maybe some of these movie snobs would like to leave THEIR daughters alone with Polanski for the day.

This is how the thinking of those who signed the petition distills down: "Why should Polanski be extradited and tried? He merely drugged, raped and sodomized a young adolescent girl. It was good for her. It was good for society."

Would they have signed the petition if it had been their daughter?

1 2 | »


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...




Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: