01 October 2009 – Roman Polanski

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On Saturday 26th of September celebrated film director Roman Polanski was arrested in Zurich, Switzerland en route to the Zurich Film Festival to accept a Lifetime Acheivment Award. After 30 years in exile he now faces extradition to the US to resume sentencing for his 1977 trial for Unlawful Sex with a Minor.

Many of Hollywood’s glitterati, including Whoopi Goldberg and Martin Scorsese, initially rallied in Polanski’s corner to question the significance of the director’s arrest after such a long period of quiet. The public condemnations backfired when most of the world’s media printed comments and editorials to the effect that Polanski ought to face sentencing or at least a retrial over the accusations of the rape and sodomy of Samantha Geimer, who at the time was only 13 yrs old.

Although there were serious questions raised regarding the level of fairness Polanski received during the trial, what is interesting here isn’t really the sordid details, but how Polanski pretty much manage to slip out of the US and, for 30 years, past the dogs of righteousness that bite viciously from the pages of newspapers whenever any issue of sex and children arises.

Many high-profile actors sill worked with him, studios still hired him, distributors still bought his work and the public still paid to see his films – even the Acedemy seemed to forgive him when the gave him the Oscar for best Director for The Pianist in 2002.

Such it is that for once, on this rare occasion, in our celeb soaked culture, it was the genius and not the man that the world watched; the moral to this story is both beautiful and sad at the same time.

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About craig shaw
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