Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired 2008 UNRATED

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(23) IMDb 7.3/10
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One of the most controversial and brilliant directors, Roman Polanski has long been a subject of fascination for his films (Rosemary's Baby, Chinatown, The Pianist) and his personal life.

Starring:
Andrew Braunsberg, Richard Brenneman
Runtime:
1 hour, 40 minutes

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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Sigrid Macdonald on March 26, 2011
Format: DVD
This documentary by Steven Soderbergh was fascinating and I learned quite a bit about Roman Polanski that I never knew because I hadn't followed his case that closely. I didn't know he was a Holocaust survivor and had lost his parents to the camps. I did know that his wife Sharon Tate was brutally murdered by the freakish Manson clan. And I imagine that all those hideous and traumatic incidents left a terrible and indelible mark on his psyche. But does this somehow justify drugging and raping a 13-year-old girl?

The production is far too sympathetic toward Polanski. Yes, it appears he had a judge who was obsessed with celebrities and his own fame and publicity. Yes, it looks as though his sentence was unfair, but even the original proposal to incarcerate Polanski for 90 days for a diagnostic was absurd. 90 days for taking a pubescent girl and giving her Quaaludes and sodomizing her? Please? What century are we living in?

Although the girl who was molested appeared on the show and spoke as an adult, I got the distinct impression that the message was "poor Roman", not "poor 13-year-old girl." At one point her prior sexual history was even mentioned -- disgraceful -- yet she clearly said that she had said *no* to him. Even if she had said *yes* and begged him to have sex with her, at 13, she didn't have the mental or legal ability to give consent.

The whole situation is very sad. If only Polanski had served out his time properly in the US, some of this would be behind him and perhaps he could have continued to be a wonderful director. People are complicated. Just because he committed a heinous act doesn't mean that he doesn't have redeeming qualities. He is brilliant and the French realize this.
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25 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Clare Quilty on November 2, 2008
Format: DVD
This is a crisp, well-structured documentary which brings together most of the principal facts and figures in Polanski's 1977-1978 unlawful sexual intercourse trial.

Two are missing from the scene -- Polanski himself and Judge Laurence Rittenband, who presided over the case -- and they're the most important and, among followers of the situation, the most divisive.

The filmmakers have a clear respect for Polanski the artist, but they make two points painfully clear: That, in 1977, he gave a 13-year-old girl Quaaludes and champagne before having sex with her; and that the case was poorly (in some cases illegally) handled by Rittenband, who was eventually removed from the case.

Rittenband is dead and Polanski fled to France rather than face his judge's increasingly sketchy demands but most of the principals are here, particularly defense attorney Douglas Dalton, former assistant D.A. Roger Gunson and the victim herself, Samantha Geimer, who's now in her mid-40s, a mother of three children and seems ready to put the whole matter to rest.

The account is fascinating, and artfully punctuated by scenes from Polanski's films, particularly those he appeared in including "Chinatown," "The Tenant" and "The Fat and the Lean," which was made a decade-and-a-half before the trouble but which features Polanski dancing on cue to a drum beaten by a man who, ironically, bears no small resemblance to Rittenband himself.

I never like to assume that I'm an expert on a situation simply after seeing one documentary about it, but it's a persuasive argument when a Mormon district attorney sides with a sex offender and his defense lawyer against a judge. That's pretty convincing evidence this movie is spouting something close to the truth.
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Format: DVD
From the severe trauma he went through with the horrific murder of his wife and child to be, not to mention how he lost his mother to the Nazis, Roman Polanski clearly had significant emotional disorders which would and do cause mental disorders- the correlation between the emotional and the mental seem to be overlooked. The physical, emotional and mental are all connected and interwoven and cannot be separated. Certain drugs are effective in treating severe emotional problems which are lodged in the brain and have to be prescribed. This isn't just depression, this takes a strong narcotic given in daily moderate doses. One drug in particular is not used nearly enough - only for the physical when in fact it would work wonders for the emotional and mental as well. That put together with yoga, meditation and prayer would be a sure cure.
Roman Polanski was clearly a disturbed man whose life would probably have been destroyed in a lengthy prison system as countless others are. Or maybe he would have destroyed himself with the worst drugs out there- alcohol and cocaine.
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Format: Amazon Instant Video
Seemed a thorough accumulation of facts. I came away with questions about how the charges initially came out. Was it just after the act itself while Polanski and the girl were still in Jack Nicholson's home or did the girl wait until she got home and told her mother. That is a gray area for me. It looked like there were two different stories being told from the transcript questions at the beginning of the film about what actually took place. My question, "Was this simply revenge on a talented director?"
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