Roman Polanski: A Memoir

  • Year:2011
  • Rating:M
  • Director:Laurent Bouzereau
  • Cast:Roman Polanski
  • Release Date:February 21, 2013
  • Distributor:Regency
  • Running time:90 minutes
  • Film Worth:$15.00
  • FILMINK rates movies out of $20 - the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth

An intimate and compelling, albeit sympathetic, portrait of this filmmaking legend, whose often tragedy tinged real life story eclipses his extraordinary onscreen work.

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It’s easy, if inaccurate, to pigeonhole Roman Polanski, and any one of a number of handy labels can be used: filmmaker, Oscar winner, Holocaust survivor, tragic widower, convicted sex criminal, fugitive. Here, director Laurent Bouzereau (veteran of a staggering number of DVD behind-the-scenes documentaries), attempts to synthesise the various facets of Polanski into a seamless whole, by simply having the controversial director relate the story of his life in one extended interview with his friend and previous collaborator, film producer, Andrew Braunsberg.

It’s fascinating stuff, with Polanski’s account of his own rise from actor to director in his native Poland, through to acclaimed auteur status in the late sixties and early seventies, counterbalanced – and arguably somewhat eclipsed – by the more lurid details of his life: his experiences as a child in WW2; the murder of his pregnant wife, Sharon Tate; his arrest for sexual assault and subsequent flight to France. Indeed, the incident that casts the longest shadow over the film is Polanski’s 2009 arrest in Switzerland, with much of the interview shot while he was under house arrest. Although the outcome of the situation is now known, it’s still interesting to wonder how his precarious situation may have affected Polanski’s answers.

The film’s major problem, though, is Braunsberg’s obvious affection for and deference to his subject. A less sympathetic interrogator would not have trodden so lightly around the more scandalous aspects of Polanski’s life, but then again, a less sympathetic interrogator may have resulted in no film at all. In the end, what we have is an interesting and intimate portrait of Polanski as both a man and an artist, but not an unbiased one. Whatever your opinion of him, it’ll be largely unchanged by this film.

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