HomeControversyRoman Polanski Controversy: French Film Industry Reportedly Souring on Roman Polanski

Roman Polanski Controversy: French Film Industry Reportedly Souring on Roman Polanski

Roman Polanski Controversy: There is now evidence that 88-year-old Roman Polanski’s history is catching up with him in a location where he always appeared secure: the French film business.

The controversial filmmaker has found physical and artistic refuge in France. The Polish-born author of Rosemary’s Baby and Chinatown has been residing there since 1978 when he fled the United States before being sentenced for illicit sexual relations with a child. Though officially in exile, he has continued to work with Hollywood A-listers in the intervening years (take a look at IMDb; you might be shocked at some of the projects you haven’t thought about in a while), and his films Tess and The Pianist have received Academy Awards.

Despite continued legal concerns, such as a house arrest in Switzerland in 2009 and more sexual assault charges in 2010 (then more in 2017 and 2019, totaling five), Polanski’s work was simply produced and well-received in France. (Polanski denied all of the allegations and even threatened to sue the most recent accuser, a French woman.)

However, after the #MeToo movement brought to light sexual harassment and criminal activity in the film industry, Polanski (along with Bill Cosby) was expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in May 2018, a decision that the director is still fighting. (Harvey Weinstein had already been fired a few months prior.) His 2019 film, An Officer and a Spy, which was never released in the United States, fared well and earned him the César for Best Director. (There were a total of 12 nominations.)

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Polanski’s victory generated quite a sensation at that year’s event

Polanski’s victory generated quite a sensation at that year’s event, notably when director Céline Sciamma and actress Adèle Haenel rushed out in anger. (“Bravo la pédophilie!” Haenel allegedly said as she walked away.) Protesters battled with police outside the presentation, tear gas was shot, and the whole 21-member board that oversaw the awards resigned.

Roman Polanski Controversy

That may have been a turning moment. According to Variety, Polanski’s next film, The Palace, has been unable to find French finance. Producer Luca Barbareschi “bemoaned” his difficulties to the entertainment outlet, which has been filming in Switzerland for 15 weeks on a $15.8 million budget cobbled together from Italian, Polish, and Swiss sources. (According to the article, several funders “disappeared once the film began shooting.”) “I managed to mount the production without France over the course of a year since France did not want to put a Euro in Polanski,” he explained.

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Barbareschi expressed Astonishment

Barbareschi expressed astonishment at being turned down by France and expressed hope that the final picture will be accepted by the industry. “It’s a crime if this picture isn’t distributed in France,” he continued.

He’s “frightened” that the same regions that rejected An Officer and a Spy (North America, the United Kingdom, and Australia) will reject The Palace. Barbareschi, who personally invested €4 million in the new project, should have asked me before signing the check, but he didn’t.

Mickey Rourke, Fanny Ardant, Oliver Masucci, and John Cleese feature in the upcoming film. It takes place in the Palace Hotel in Gstaad, Switzerland. (As it happens, two of Polanski’s victims say their attacks occurred in Gstaad, one when she was 15 and the other when she was 18.)

For decades, the Palace Hotel’s castle-like resort has served as a shelter for A-listers such as Elizabeth Taylor, Jackie Kennedy, Marlene Dietrich, Princess Diana, Elton John, Sophia Loren, Quentin Tarantino, Anne Hathaway, and many others. Michael Jackson was so taken with the hotel that he offered to buy it.

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