How the media can effect justice (Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired reviewed)


Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired (USA/UK, 2008)

Seen: Saturday, 16th May 2009 (cinema, Planete Doc Review)
Runtime: 99′
Director: Marina Zenovich
Production House: Antidote Films, British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Graceful Pictures
Plot: (from imdb)

Marina Zenovich’s new documentary examines the public scandal and private tragedy which led to legendary director Roman Polanski’s sudden flight from the United States.

Opening Scene

Impressions In Short
I think it’s an excellent documentary (the hype it got at Sundance was well deserved). A very complicated film to edit, but they did a fantastic job.

More About the Film
This film is not about what happened that night between Polański and the 13 year old girl. It’s about what happened before and after. And even though the film gives an interesting portrait of Polański, it’s not entirely about Polański either. I feel that the no. 1 issue in the film is the media and how it effected the events. Which is why, even though the events in the film happened in the 70s (and the atmosphere of the 70s really carries through), it’s actually very timely.
The case itself is quite fascinating. While the girl and her family wanted some sort of justice, they never wanted Polański in prison. And many years later the girl publicly forgave Polański and tried to settle the matter in court, so that he could once again travel to the United States (it didn’t work out).
A striking moment in the film is when the prosecutor says that Polański’s decision to flee the USA was completely understandable. In the circumstances (the trial was not fair), many people would have probably made a similar decision.
Some of the archive footage is fascinating. I particularly loved the interview the film starts with (you can see it above) which was used throughout the film (it also closes it).

Yes, definitely. Whichever way you stand on Polański, it’s worth seeing. And as I say, it’s very timely.

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