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So, hey! Let's talk Polanski!
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Rob Gonsalves
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2009 12:15 pm    Post subject: So, hey! Let's talk Polanski! Reply with quote

This ought to be fun.

For the record, it would seem to me that Polanski was about to be railroaded into a different situation than his lawyers or even the prosecutors had agreed on, and this was why he bolted. Even his victim has said repeatedly that everyone should just let it go, if not for Polanski's sake, then for her sake. Since the impulse here is to side with the victim, I side with her.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2009 1:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry, Rob, I don't agree.

He had sex with a 13-year-old girl, plied her with drink and quaaludes that promote euphoria and drowsiness and then fled justice.

She doesn't want it all dragged back up? I don't blame her one bit and I wouldn't either, but the justice system isn't about what she wants necessarily.

This is the right thing that's been done.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2009 3:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MP Bartley wrote:
Sorry, Rob, I don't agree.

He had sex with a 13-year-old girl, plied her with drink and quaaludes that promote euphoria and drowsiness and then fled justice.

She doesn't want it all dragged back up? I don't blame her one bit and I wouldn't either, but the justice system isn't about what she wants necessarily.

This is the right thing that's been done.


I agree, especially with the Dugard case in the news right now. I feel bad for what happened to Sharon Tate and their unborn child, but that is no excuse for raping a child. Polanski should face the music, he's had three decades to prepare (my oldest son is 12 years old, and crimes against kids sickens me). The way the media is playing this out is interesting. The Manson murders are brought up in every story, as if to justify what happened. I like Polanski, like some of his films, but this aspect of the man always made me uneasy.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2009 4:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MP Bartley wrote:
I don't blame her one bit and I wouldn't either, but the justice system isn't about what she wants necessarily.


What is it about, then? Who does it really benefit at this point?

What he did was and is reprehensible. But there was an agreed-upon punishment, an agreement that was then reversed by a judge who wanted to make an example of Polanski and not look too soft on a celebrity.

Saying that he was about to get screwed over and understanding why he bolted is not the same as justifying what he did. In this case, the justice system appears to have gotten hijacked by a judge who didn't seem to give much of a shit about the victim.

No one's disputing he was sick. It might be worth considering why he was sick. Again, not the same as justifying what he did. But here's a guy who lived through the Holocaust and lost his wife and unborn child to the Manson butchers. That'll fuck your head around a bit and shake your moral compass until it maybe doesn't point north anymore for a while. Does that make it okay to rape a 13-year-old girl? No. Is it, in this case, explained by what else he went through? Maybe.

And honestly, what kind of mother leaves her 13-year-old girl alone to be photographed by such a man, whose past might certainly lead a parent to wonder about the wisdom of a private photo shoot? She wanted her daughter to be famous. There were two sessions, during the first of which Polanski asked the girl to "change in front of him." Yet her mother, apparently oblivious to this, let her go back a second time? And wasn't there in the room?
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2009 7:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
What is it about, then?


How about Roman Polanski actually being held responsible for his actions?

So, I've already trashed one thread, may as well go for two...


Look I understand horrible things happened to Mr. Polanski, things I could never imagine. Things that no one should have to endure. However that in no way excuses what he did. And let's not forget what he did, told a 13 year old to take off her top and took pictures of her, had her undress in front of him, get naked in the pool with him, refused to take her home when she asked, plied her with champagne and drugs, then went down on her, raped her and then sodomized her, while she said "no".

She never told her mother what happened in the first photo shoot. Her mother also called during the second photo shoot and both Mr. Polanski and she said everything was fine. Perhaps it was questionable parenting to allow her daughter to go with him, and the mother probably was a glory hound, but again that STILL has no bearing on what he did! It doesn't justify it. It doesn't make it okay.

And instead of owning up to what he did, he plea bargained down the charges, served less than half of his evaluation at Chino (which was supposed to be 90 days) and if memory serves was allowed to finish his project in Europe before he even went to be evaluated. Maybe the judge got carried away or maybe his conscience go the better of him and he decided to overturn the plea.

So before he could be sentenced, Mr Polanski fled to France and continued on with his life. Directing movies and whatever else he does.... But he is talented and he has means and he is a citizen of a country with a weak extradiction policy with the US so I have no doubt he'll never truly pay for him crime. He'll never serve a day in prison outside of the 40+ days he was in Chino, 30 years ago. Because even if he is extradicted from Switzerland, like Rob said the victiim has no desire to have this drudged up again, so I seriously doubt it will go anywhere.

Personally, I hope there's a special place in hell (if there is one) for that raping fuck.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2009 8:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Because even if he is extradicted from Switzerland, like Rob said the victiim has no desire to have this drudged up again, so I seriously doubt it will go anywhere.


I'm with Matt on this; it isn't about what the victim wants or does not want. If it were a civil suit, then it would matter, but it is a criminal case, and the matter has been reported to the police, thirty years ago. So if the girl (or her mother) wanted to avoid the issue, it is too late by three decades.

The judge will have to decide whether or not Polanski is guilty of the crime, and the only way for those involved to avoid seeing the matter raised again would be to stall in court -- which could pave the way for perjury, contempt of court, obstruction of justice, etc. And even if the witnesses did their best "I don't remember", the trial, even one going nowhere, would still be covered in the media.

It's about society enforcing its laws, not about what the victim now wants.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2009 11:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm sorry but I side with Rob (in part).

This is not about owning up for what he did to that child. Polanski himself pleaded guilty for that. The problem is that there was a deal in place, only for that careerist judge to throw the plea out and try and screw him in jail for 15 years as an example. Seen that his life was about to be screwed, Polanski fled.

Do I condone his actions? No. But if a deal was taken in and was accepted by both parties (which it was), then you should honor that.

What I fear, and he fears this as well, is that he'll get extradited and serve a long-term prison sentence by people whom just looking to make careers out of themselves and put their name on the paper rather than actually serve the proper punishments that were originally arranged.
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Also, isn't it interesting that the Swiss government has only thought of arresting Polanski just now even though he's been coming there for years and he's known to have chalet there as well?

Reeks of political whoremongering to me...
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2009 11:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Slyder wrote:
Also, isn't it interesting that the Swiss government has only thought of arresting Polanski just now even though he's been coming there for years and he's known to have chalet there as well?

Reeks of political whoremongering to me...


You have to understand that Switzerland is now eager to demonstrate it has a reason for existing, after Gaddafi, oh well, you know. (Wouldn't fly on Swissair for a while if I were you, just in case.)

More seriously, sure, you will get the politically minded judges who will want to nail someone who happens to be famous. Still, the law mandates what is acceptable or not in terms of sentencing; anything above that would be illegal. But worse than that, Polanski bolted; and the worst of all, he was able to find employment overseas even as people knew about what he had done. I don't know who to blame more, in this case: Polanski, the US justice system, or the financial backers of his post-1978 films.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 12:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alex Paquin wrote:

More seriously, sure, you will get the politically minded judges who will want to nail someone who happens to be famous. Still, the law mandates what is acceptable and not in terms of sentencing. Polanski bolted; worse than that, he was able to find employment overseas even as people knew about why he had done so. I don't know who to blame more, in this case: Polanski, the US justice system, or the financial backers of his post-1978 films.


While its true what you said regarding the law, I honestly never heard of first time offenders getting a maximum sentence unless the crime was serious enough to warrant it. Serial rapists go to prison 15-20-life for their crimes, while others are sentence to death in some states or countries. however, that is not the issue here. The issue here is that both the prosecution and the defense agreed on legal terms and the only reason why a judge would throw out a plea is because there had to be a compelling state's interest in doing so. Judge Rittenband never showed any of this. He was rather more concerned about his appearance and what would people say on the matter than the legal proceedings at hand. So he made Polanski a poster boy for child rape, and was to hand him the maximum sentence. Polanski, knowing this was going to happen, fled, and I understand the reasons he did, although I disagree with them because if he had fought his conviction, he might have been redeemed. His reputation would be tarnished either way, and he probably didn't see that.

If anybody's guilty, apart from Polanski, is also the US legal system who actually allows such leeway and hypocrisy to happen.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 2:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

CharlesTatum wrote:
MP Bartley wrote:
Sorry, Rob, I don't agree.

He had sex with a 13-year-old girl, plied her with drink and quaaludes that promote euphoria and drowsiness and then fled justice.

She doesn't want it all dragged back up? I don't blame her one bit and I wouldn't either, but the justice system isn't about what she wants necessarily.

This is the right thing that's been done.


I agree, especially with the Dugard case in the news right now. I feel bad for what happened to Sharon Tate and their unborn child, but that is no excuse for raping a child. Polanski should face the music, he's had three decades to prepare (my oldest son is 12 years old, and crimes against kids sickens me). The way the media is playing this out is interesting. The Manson murders are brought up in every story, as if to justify what happened. I like Polanski, like some of his films, but this aspect of the man always made me uneasy.


i just hoping this case will surely got a nice result



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PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 8:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Who does it really benefit at this point?


I'm not sure it will benefit anybody, but I'm not sure that's the point, either.
Quote:
an agreement that was then reversed by a judge who wanted to make an example of Polanski and not look too soft on a celebrity.


Interesting that both you and Slyder mention that, as from what I've understood (admittedly through second-hand sources) the judge was actually quite star struck by Polanski and inclined to be lenient on him.

Quote:
No one's disputing he was sick. It might be worth considering why he was sick. Again, not the same as justifying what he did. But here's a guy who lived through the Holocaust and lost his wife and unborn child to the Manson butchers. That'll fuck your head around a bit and shake your moral compass until it maybe doesn't point north anymore for a while. Does that make it okay to rape a 13-year-old girl? No. Is it, in this case, explained by what else he went through? Maybe.

And honestly, what kind of mother leaves her 13-year-old girl alone to be photographed by such a man, whose past might certainly lead a parent to wonder about the wisdom of a private photo shoot? She wanted her daughter to be famous. There were two sessions, during the first of which Polanski asked the girl to "change in front of him." Yet her mother, apparently oblivious to this, let her go back a second time? And wasn't there in the room?


Can't say I disagree with any of this - but there's a lot of other Holocaust survivors who didn't do anything like this. But, yeah, maybe it does explain it.

Definitely agree with you on the mother's role in this, though.

Quote:
Also, isn't it interesting that the Swiss government has only thought of arresting Polanski just now even though he's been coming there for years and he's known to have chalet there as well?


Slyder, no-one comes out of this well - not Polanski, not the US legal system, not Switzerland and not these people signing the below petition Confused

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 12:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rob Gonsalves wrote:
What he did was and is reprehensible. But there was an agreed-upon punishment, an agreement that was then reversed by a judge who wanted to make an example of Polanski and not look too soft on a celebrity.

Saying that he was about to get screwed over and understanding why he bolted is not the same as justifying what he did. In this case, the justice system appears to have gotten hijacked by a judge who didn't seem to give much of a shit about the victim.

I tend to think, though, that making an example of Polanski would not be a bad thing, and that even if the judge's motive's weren't pure, he wouldn't exactly have been wrong in sentencing a child rapist to more than 42 days in prison. Theoretically, prison sentences are supposed to act in part as deterrents, and every day Polanski spent flouting the law is an argument for harsher punishment.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 12:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JaySeaver wrote:
Theoretically, prison sentences are supposed to act in part as deterrents, and every day Polanski spent flaunting the law is an argument for harsher punishment.


That's also true. As much as I despise judges who either have political ambitions or use the bench to impose an ideological agenda, there is still an ongoing impression that celebrities tend to be given particularly lenient sentences because they are celebrities, which gives the undesirable impression that you can get away with anything as long as you're famous (or worse, that you can hide behind your "art" to justify it, which is what it's all about at this point).

If he did not deserve a maximum sentence when originally convicted, he certainly deserves it now, thirty years later. In a civil suit, they'd call it capital plus interests.

And I'm not sure his attitude can entirely be attributed to the murder of his wife. It would be interesting if someone who is familiar with his pre-Manson films, including the Polish titles, could tell us if there are any traces in them (always a risky prospect) of his future behaviour.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 1:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here apparently, is the plea agreement with no sentence yet decided.

And here is Whoopi Goldberg saying that it wasn't "rape-rape".

Oh, that's OK, then.

Of course, the important thing to remember here is that ROMAN POLANSKI DID NOT RECEIVE FAVOURABLE TREATMENT!
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 4:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's interesting to see Hollywood split over this issue. I've been following the coverage, and I think it's time Polanski faced the music...and Whoopi Goldberg is a moron.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 12:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Plus, Charles, Polanski is so much more the artist than the has-been Goldberg that he wouldn't so much as pee on her if she were afire.

Oh, and I totally agree with you -- face the music, child rapist.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 1:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Meanwhile, in Ze France:

Quote:
In France, the affair merely confirmed the intelligentsia's view of Americans as puritanical, intolerant rubes with a violent dislike of culture, sophistication and normal human sensuality.

Philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy, a self-anointed expert on America, opined that at worst, Mr. Polanski may have “committed a youthful error.” (After all, he was only 44 at the time.) Culture Minister Frédéric Mitterrand said, “In the same way that there is a generous America that we like, there is also a scary America that has just shown its face.” Jack Lang, a former culture minister, called it another example of the American justice system run amok. Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said, “A man of such talent, recognized in the entire world, recognized especially in the country that arrested him – all this just isn't nice.”


I simply can't understand why they're sticking their necks out for that guy. It's one thing that France didn't have an extradition treaty; it's another that they should mention his talent as a counter-argument to his arrest, as though that excused everything.

But apparently to them it's just American anti-intellectualism at work (ah yes, that good ol' anti-intellectualism). Never mind that the columnist also mentions this:

Quote:
Perhaps they also ought to read a revealing interview that Mr. Polanski gave to Martin Amis in 1979. It was unearthed this week by the Telegraph's Michael Deacon. “If I had killed somebody, it wouldn't have had so much appeal to the press, you see? But … f—ing, you see, and the young girls. Judges want to f— young girls. Juries want to f— young girls. Everyone wants to f— young girls!”


What a distinguished individual. What will he say next? That it was just research material for his planned remake of Lolita?
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 4:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's so interesting that this is coming about after the Dugard case, and the fact that I watched Elizabeth Smart's father break down on television today as he described listening to his daughter testify of being raped four times a day when kidnapped.

This Polanski case just offends me more and more as I hear about it. The victim, now in her mid-forties, doesn't want it dragged up anymore, but how often has it been dragged up in the past? I knew Polanski was in Europe for something, "sex with an underage girl," but I did not know about the drugging of the victim, which does show pre-meditation, plus the various sex acts that, excuse the crassness, must take more thought and planning than just a drunken grope.

I'm mad at Polanski, now. His best film, "The Pianist," is no less great because of what he did, but I don't know if I can watch anything else he does with a critic's cool reserve. I refuse to view Victor Salva's films, either, I don't care if he paid his dues or whatever. I just know I would have a preconceived notion about the man, and that would seep into my opinion to his work. Salva's "Clownhouse" scared the bejeebus out of me, but when I found out he was molesting one of the cast members, I dropped any plans of watching his other films without a moment's hesitation.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 11:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CharlesTatum wrote:
I'm mad at Polanski, now. His best film, "The Pianist," is no less great because of what he did

You know, it just may be. I remember an article or discussion, when it first came out, that in addition to being a harrowing tale of survival, it was also a statement about how it was important that artists, in particular, survive and escape persecution. How much of Szpilman's odyssey is Polanski drawing on his own childhood, and how much is him drawing on his own perceived persecution? That may taint it a bit, although from another perspective it makes for a fine example of the art.


The stuff from the article Alex links just kind of blows my mind. I mean, they've read the transcripts, right? If the shoe were on the other foot, would they really be okay with the U.S. sheltering someone who drugged and raped a 13-year-old girl?
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 03, 2009 2:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Edit: For convenience's sake, here is the testimony in question. For those who have yet to read it, you can begin with pages 19-36.

Jay's points bring up something more interesting. If it had been a mere actor accused of those charges, to what extent would our reaction have been different?

You have all those dirty Hollywood secrets about who got off the hook because they were well connected, and who was fed to the sharks, etc. An actor is of no importance, so even if the accusations of, say, statutory rape that were leveled at Errol Flynn were true (weirdly enough, he was acquitted but the charges made him even more popular), it doesn't affect his acting.

At its most serious, you probably wouldn't want anything to do with him anymore. Try watching O.J. in the Naked Gun films and tell me about it. Still, O.J. was really a has-been by that stage, just another former sports star attempting to recycle himself as an actor. He produced no art.

Same thing with Chuck mentioning Victor Salva. Weird case, too; people know what he did, but he is still directing. Echoes of Polanski? But the difference is that I don't hear Salva being paraded around as a genius filmmaker, while the cinematic gratin is out in arms in defense of Polanski (including Woody Allen!).

I hope that in their case it can be forgiven as a knee-jerk reaction, such as the outbursts of artists every time they perceive censorship to be afoot (which widely ranges from this case to mere cuts to the arts), and some of the stuff they do can be quite absurd. (I will always remember Margaret Atwood endorsing the separatist Bloc Québécois just to stop the arts cuts of the Conservatives.)

But those artists are just playing the censorship card here: "By their extraterritorial nature, film festivals the world over have always permitted works to be shown and for filmmakers to present them freely and safely, even when certain states opposed this". That is, plainly said, bullshit. Film festivals are not extraterritorial (unless you hold them on the high seas), they are not above the law. Even the most democratic states have limits, and there are things films can't display (child pornography, hate speech, seditious libel, etc.). The point of whether it's art or smut is irrelevant; it's illegal. A filmmaker behind this would be arrested, and his film would be seized. The same happens to any filmmaker who commits a criminal act, which is what it's about here; the censorship angle cannot even apply, because it's not what he committed as an artist, but as an individual.

But to be honest, here it's the French intellectuals and politicians who bother me; it's not as though Polanski had been kidnapped on the Riviera and smuggled out to face charges, à la Eichmann. If I were French, I would just shut the hell up about this (let the Swiss get any negative attention), lest I aggravate the situation by being asked why the French government let Polanski walk around the country for thirty years.

And I don't understand why they're so concerned about any attempt at a cash settlement at this or that date in the nineties -- it's a criminal matter now, so it's of no importance, unless they want tor destroy the credibility of her testimony by hinting at what, blackmail? (This isn't Letterman's perfectly legal extramarital affairs we're talking about, unless it transpired that harassment was involved. It's a criminal matter.)
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 03, 2009 5:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmmm, I'm thinking maybe someone should write a new entry in the "Court of Public Opinion" on this. Not on Polanski himself, but on all those twits who have rallied to his cause.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 03, 2009 6:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Come on Alex. What are you afraid of?

YOu want to vent on these people, go right ahead. Come on! The keyboard won't bite you. Wink
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 03, 2009 6:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Slyder wrote:
Come on Alex. What are you afraid of?

YOu want to vent on these people, go right ahead. Come on! The keyboard won't bite you.


Heh. I'll see what I can do and I'll look if I can unearth some more absurdities from the French side of things (I'm almost certain that what has been reported is just the tip of the iceberg, and I'm sure there must be Frenchmen who are appalled at seeing people come to Polanski's defense). I'm not sure if I'm very talented at the put-down game, though.
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Rob Gonsalves
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 03, 2009 6:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Has anyone read the actual petition? It makes a fairly good point:

Quote:
By their extraterritorial nature, film festivals the world over have always permitted works to be shown and for filmmakers to present them freely and safely, even when certain States opposed this.

The arrest of Roman Polanski in a neutral country, where he assumed he could travel without hindrance, undermines this tradition: it opens the way for actions of which no-one can know the effects.


The point being that, if you're a filmmaker who has broken some law — say, you made a film criticizing your own repressive government and you had to go into exile — you may no longer be safe. The many directors who signed the petition are probably not taking a stance of "PEDOPHILIA YAY!" so much as being worried about the precedent set by the particular manner of Polanski's apprehension.

It's entirely possible to believe that (A) Polanski committed an indefensible crime, (B) Polanski should've gotten a reasonable sentence thirty years ago, and (C) Polanski needs to be held accountable for his actions now, if only to provide closure, and still look askance at how the case was handled then and how it has been handled now.

In America, though, either you want him strung up by the balls or you're an apologist for the anal rape of children. I'm seeing regrettably little middle ground or nuanced thought about the various complexities and weirdnesses of this case. Then again, we Americans are kinda dumb.
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But I wish the public could, in the midst of its pleasures, see how blatantly it is being spoon-fed, and ask for slightly better dreams.

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Alex Paquin
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 03, 2009 8:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I must disagree with you here.

1) Films and film festivals are not extraterritorial. They do not benefit from a legal status according to which local law doesn't apply, which is limited to embassies and other such official political, diplomatic, or military functions. Hence film festivals, which usually are a private endeavour despite any government funding, do not fit into the definition of extraterritoriality. I suspect that those using the term mean universality of art, a term which has no political connotations whatsoever (and if it did, they would be wary of it), and seek to coat it with legalese to their advantage.

2) If films and film festivals are not extraterritorial, they are bound to respect local laws. And that is regardless of whether the film is a masterpiece for the ages or a piece of schlock to be forgotten tomorrow. Yes, sometimes the excesses can be puzzling and even infuriating. Just take a look at the old Catholic Index of prohibited books -- all of Zola, really? And the French government sought took criminal proceedings, on moral grounds, against what is arguably one of France's greatest novels, Madame Bovary.

And in some cases, you could endlessly debate what the work actually means. After the French liberation, H-G Clouzot was prevented from directing for two years, originally for life, mostly because of his film Le Corbeau, made for the Germans during the Occupation and accused of promoting collaboration. But the film was at first denounced by everyone -- Vichy France, the leftist Resistance, the Catholic Church, and today most agree that the film was anti-collaborationist. And I remember a British case on a French film from the 1920's where the censor said "the film is so cryptic as to be almost meaningless. If there is a meaning, it is doubtless objectionable". So there's always an element of doubt.

Still, there are cases where it shouldn't be that complicated. A film with a ten-year-old girl in full frontal nudity ought to be deemed child pornography, regardless of the aims or context of the film, because you can't expect all the members of the audience to conform to that aim or context. There will undoubtedly be those who will be there for the art, but how many too who just can't wait for the DVD so they can play the nudity scenes in slow motion and jerk off to them? No matter how much the critics might say the film is a poignant denunciation of child molesting, the potential is there -- and I am sure you can tell the story just as efficiently without resorting to any of the legally objectionable aspects. And in the case of child pornography, possession is just as prohibited as production and distribution; someone with a copy of the film would be just as guilty as the guy whose name is in the credits. You can't give the artist a free pass and arrest someone who owns a copy. And you can't use that fuzzy standard "I know it when I see it".

Yet in democratic countries, there is still the possibility of an appeal on constitutional grounds. The cases of "banned" works you hear about these days is always as a result of some local group putting enough pressure on a library to pull this or that off the shelves. Dangerous in itself, that tyranny of the majority, or of a minority that yells loud enough, but it is not a legal action by the government to ban a work or prosecute its author.

So those countries denounced in the petition aren't so much Switzerland, France, or the United States (where, if anything, the diktat will come from market forces or pressure groups with no legal validity), they're places where the films and their makers won't be allowed into in the first place. China does it routinely, under the thinnest of excuses, and except for those films which threaten the regime, palm-greasing is always the remedy. Polanski's fate will change nothing to that.

3) I just wrote #2 to make you waste your time anyway, as it's not even a Polanski film which is at stake here (they can all play in Switzerland, as far as I know), it's Polanski himself. It's what he did, and it did not involve a camera. It was not even a legitimate action in a repressive regime, like publishing a book in samizdat. He did not ask for refugee status, and could not have (and the point is moot, as he didn't need to; he became a French citizen in 1976). He could flee, and he fled; and for three decades he hid behind his French passport to foil attempts at extradition to the US. Which makes his original crime even more odious.

If anything, he should have been an embarrassment to the French government, which was hardly in a position to change its citizenship and extradition laws purely on his account. If anything, the French government should just have remained silent when he was nabbed in Switzerland, since nobody forced him to go there. Let the Swiss deal with him, problem solved. It was not the Eichmann case, where the Israelis went more or less: "screw the laws of Argentina, we're doing it anyway". The end does not justify the means. If the problem is diplomatic, put on diplomatic pressure. Violating the law is no way to go about; but it did not happen here.

At best, the French could have put up some hollow and insincere defense of Polanski, just to demonstrate that the French government cares after its own. But they went far beyond that, with their thinly concealed anti-US stance. Quite ironic, too, that the petition goes: "On September 16th, 2009, Mr. Charles Rivkin, the US Ambassador to France, received French artists and intellectuals at the embassy. He presented to them the new Minister Counselor for Public Affairs at the embassy, Ms Judith Baroody. In perfect French she lauded the Franco-American friendship and recommended the development of cultural relations between our two countries. If only in the name of this friendship between our two countries, we demand the immediate release of Roman Polanski." The French are just as incensed as the signatories. If you want to blame anyone, blame the Swiss. Gaddafi would gladly sign such a petition, I should think.

Edit: Tell you what: I'll look into writing something for the Court of Public Opinion. The stuff I'm reading in the French press is too good to let it go to waste. Even there an intellectuals/public divide is appearing.
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