Roman Polanski: A Film Memoir
Roman Polanski: A Film Memoir
A documentary about Roman Polanski, the man and filmmaker. Roman Polanski speaks about his eventful life story and career in conversation with Andrew Braunsberg, his former business partner, producer, and friend of many years.
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November 01, 2015 at 05:09 AM
Comprehensive Account of a Colorful Director's Life
Other critics have commented on the way in which interviewer Andrew Braunsberg gives Polanski a relatively easy ride over the incident that defined his career; his arrest in the late Seventies for having sex with an underage girl. What this film suggests is that Polanski has 'done his time,' so to speak for the crime; not only was he prevented from re- entering the United States, but he was detained for several months in a Swiss jail before being finally released. In truth ROMAN POLANSKI: A MEMOIR is less preoccupied with this single incident and more with Polanski's harrowing childhood as he grew up in a Poland overrun by Nazis, faced the indignities of seeing his mother, father and sister taken away; lived in a ghetto provided by the Nazi for Jews in Poland; and then ran away just in the nick of time from a Nazi soldier shooting at him for fun. After a fledgling career as an actor, Polanski went to film school and released his first major work in 1962. Even when he achieved fame, tragedy dogged him; his second wife Sharon Tate was brutally murdered by Charles Manson, simply for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. While Braunsberg is a sympathetic interviewer, he does not skate over these harrowing details in Polanski's life; for his part, Polanski responds to the questions as comprehensively as he can, even though some of the memories of his life are still hard for him to endure. ROMAN POLANSKI: A MEMOIR allows the director to speak with the minimum of intervention; a few title-cards fill in the gaps not covered by the interview. Definitely required viewing for anyone interested in the career of the great director, as well as those concerned with film history in Europe.
Interesting documentary, a personal dialogue with a master filmmaker
Interesting documentary about master filmmaker Polanski, who is visited by his friend and business partner of nearly 50 years, Andrew Braunsberg, in his Swiss chalet in Gstaad, while under house arrest for the rape charges dating back to 1977. Polanski gives a very personal insight in his early life, from childhood during World War Two, to his early acting career and later personal tragedy with Sharon Tate. Highly interesting, even touching, this is recommended to any film fan. Some of his films are neglected, some not even mentioned, but what you get to hear is fascinating. Polanski sometimes has to fight back tears. Good piano score by Alexandre Desplat.
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A celebrated life full of triumphs and devastation...but what has the subject learned from all this?
An intimate sit-down conversation with filmmaker Roman Polanski, conducted by his long-time friend, Laurent Bouzereau, takes place after Polanski was detained and arrested in Switzerland in 2009 after arriving from Paris to attend a film festival. The warrant for Polanski stemmed from an arrest in Los Angeles in 1977, after the director fled the United States before going to court on a statutory rape case involving an underage girl. Polanski, having recently served nine weeks in solitary confinement before being placed under house arrest, is in a Zen-like mood, reflective and thoughtful. The only emotion he sidesteps is regret. He wonders when "all this" will end, he worries what toll his arrest will take on his wife and children, without contemplating why he was arrested or what he can personally do to bring an end to this chapter in his life. Bouzereau is soft on his friend, he doesn't prod Polanski or drag answers out of him, and yet maybe that's what Polanski needs to wake up. The man is an artist, a celebrity, a husband and a father, but he's also half-asleep--perhaps as a way to ignore his problems. They're not just going to go away. **1/2 from ****