i’ve had the roman polanski documentary “wanted and desired” in my netflix queue for months, but in lieu of his recent arrest in switzerland, my attention has been sufficiently piqued and i decided to sit myself down this afternoon and watch it.
it was a really disheartening film, but one that i think is important for people to watch if they want to have any kind of educated opinion about the situation polanski finds himself in. the film does an excellent job of giving reasons why polanski should perhaps be pitied (the death of his mother at the hands of the nazis and his childhood struggle for survival in poland, the murder of his wife by the manson family, etc.), but ultimately doesn’t deny that his furnishing a 13-year old with quaaludes and then having sex with her was wrong and inexcusable. the film focuses more on the trial, and how the fame-whoring judge presiding over his case treated polanski and his case completely unlawfully. so much of this story has been skewed by disreputable media sources, that having all of the information sheds a new light on this debacle.
after watching this film, i feel even less sure of my opinions about this situation. obviously, it was wretched that he had sex with a minor, but there is something about him and his life that impels me toward empathy. i think polanski is often painted as either a monstrous figure or a duplicitous one; i just see him as a person filled to the brim with an overwhelming amount of sadness, and as a person who made a really big mistake and simply wants, after thirty years, to be able to move on with his life. he’s an incredible artist, but no one is above the law; similarly, the representatives of the law had no right to abuse him because of his celebrity status. it’s a big twisted mess, if you ask me. watch the film and tell me what you think.
EDIT: there was an article in the new york times movie section today about “wanted and desired.”