Woody Allen Defends Polanski, Earth is Round

With exhausted effort, I bring you, ladies and gentlemen, Woody Allen’s defense of Polanski – as given in an interview at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival.

“It’s something that happened many years ago…. He has suffered,” Allen told French radio station RTL. “He’s an artist, he’s a nice person, he did something wrong and he paid for it. They [his critics] are not happy unless he pays the rest of his life. They would be happy if they could execute him in a firing squad,” he said.

Yawn. What more could we really expect from Woody “I Basically Married My Stepdaughter” Allen? And no, I DON’T care that he was never “technically” the stepfather of then-wife Mia Farrow’s adopted daughter, Soon-Yi. It’s still creepy and gross.

(Many thanks to William for bringing this to my attention on Twitter.)

Tweet-Sized Thoughts on Media-Related Things: p1

In honor of my recent inability to write anything of length, I felt I had to post something for my own sake. So I think I will take a cue from my friend Britt Julious and her Sunday column idea…Though with this blog, it will just be a collection of my recent tweets on Twitter that happen to be media-related. (Note: Hopefully, on another day, some of these tweet-sized bites will grow into essays or articles.)

First impressions of a commercial for Sex and the City 2.

‘Sex and the City 2′ looks like a hackneyed, slightly racist mess. #SATC 8:44 PM May 6th

Update: Solange is still cooler than you, even while singing on one of those LSD-induced kids’ shows.

Dear @solangeknowles: Will you please make a full-length song of this Yo Gabba Gabba! thing? It’s damn catchy. http://bit.ly/cHDOR6 3:45 PM May 8th

A film I revisited and found it’s still one of my all-time favorites: Wim Wenders’ Paris, Texas.

“I walked around for months talking to you. Now I don’t know what to say. It was easier when I just imagined you.” Damn good film, Paris, TX 5:31 PM May 8th

Betty White hosting SNL Mother’s Day Episode. I basically live-tweeted the Betty White-hosted SNL episode…along with dozens of my friends. In a nutshell? It was glorious. Undoubtedly one of the best episodes SNL has had in a lonnnnnnng time. Because of Betty White AND the fact that they brought back a lot of the former female favorites for the Mother’s Day episode. They have to know that they can’t really make it any better than that ever again…But we’ll see with the Alec Baldwin episode tonight. (Which, in the promos for, they’ve already made fun of themselves and their one-time success with Betty White.) Key tweets include…

Betty White on #SNL! Awesome already. Just to hear her say, ‘Jay-Z is here!’ 10:40 PM May 8th

NPR ladies!! Muffin!! Betty White!! #SNL 10:49 PM May 8th

TINA!!!! #SNL 11:00 PM May 8th

Jay-Z medley!!! This is the best #SNL episode ever. 11:12 PM May 8th

Omg. Maya’s Whitney impression is always gold. #SNL 11:21 PM May 8th

Cannes Film Festival 2010 starts; French New Wave pioneer Jean-Luc Godard’s new film Socialisme.

The trailers for #Godard‘s new #film just speed up the whole movie in its entirety, instead of highlighting scenes http://bit.ly/9fSymX 10:27 AM May 10th

RT: Racialicious explores Lady Gaga and white privilege.

Great read, fascinating. RT @britticisms Racialicious on how Lady Gaga’s white privilege makes her transgressive: http://bit.ly/gagawoc 2:35 PM May 10th

RT: Salon.com on the 90s MTV show Daria finally being released on DVD.

SalonMedia Remember the old MTV? “Daria” comes out on DVD http://bit.ly/a2ruwh 8:57 AM May 12th

“‘Daria’ could have only happened at that time, during that strange, transitional period after the grunge and gangsta rap of the early ’90s” 9:11 AM May 12th

RT: A friend lets me know about a development in the Polanski case.

DrMcButtcheeks @colleenclaes http://www.cnn.com/2010/CRIME/05/14/polanski.second.accuser/index.html Honestly. Who saw this coming? about 22 hours ago

@DrMcButtcheeks But this just reminds me how I don’t even WANNA know how many old pervo Polanski did this to… about 22 hours ago

And that’s all for now. If you see anything you’d like me to elaborate on, please let me know! (Unfortunately, I don’t think my heart/anxiety can bear doing another lengthy post on Polanski…)

“Remain Silent No Longer”: Rage Against the Polanski

I’ve written a lot about Roman Polanski since he was arrested – after 30+ years – for raping a 13-year-old girl back in the 70s. So now that he chose to speak out for the first time this weekend, it just seems right to “Rage Against the Polanski” once again. Because after all, “Polanski” has become a machine in itself – made up of pompous, privileged and delusional supporters in Hollywood and Europe who seem to think Polanski is above being punished for committing rape.

The main reason? “It was so long ago!” The other reason? Well, let’s let Polanski explain that one to us:

“I can remain silent no longer because the request for my extradition addressed to the Swiss authorities is founded on a lie,” writes Polanski, who blames Marina Zenovich’s HBO documentary Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired for stirring up career-mongering LA prosecutors into acting on his long dormant case.

Oh, of course. The Wanted and Desired documentary from 2008…Which, as illuminating as it was, didn’t exactly vilify Polanski as much as it should or could have. It was fairly balanced as far as “telling both sides” goes. And it even ended with a close friend of the director’s saying – oh so poetically – how Polanski became “wanted” in the U.S. after he fled his crime, and then “desired” in France/Europe (but particularly France, with their odd glamorization and defensiveness of him). This seemed to me as if the documentary might be ultimately glorifying Polanski as some sort of misunderstood but irresistible legend – which sounds a hell of a lot better than “pervert-turned-fugitive who fled his rape crime.”

You can download Polanski’s full statement here. It’s basically everything you’ve already heard from the “Free Polanski” crowd but with added melodrama – as Polanski highlights the “injustices” of his case with the prefaced statement in bold, “I can remain silent no longer because…”

Best part:

I can remain silent no longer because I have been placed under house
arrest in Gstaad and bailed in very large sum of money which I have
managed to raise only by mortgaging the apartment that has been my
home for over 30 years, and because I am far from my family and unable to
work.

Aside from the fact that I just don’t give a…, this heap of “boo-hoo-poor-me” B.S. completely contradicts Polanski’s opening sentences: “I have had my share of dramas and joys, as we all have, and I am not going to try to ask you to pity my lot in life.” No. That’s exactly what you’re doing. And that’s exactly what everyone in support of you has been doing since September.

And ahhh yes. The media is just “out to get” Polanski. To make an example of him. Yeah. That’s it. Sure, the media loves it. But what really happened is that the U.S. finally ARRESTED him for his RAPE CRIME. I mean, some people agree with me on this, right?!

Oh, and then this happened on indieWIRE:

While I object to people who suggest that Polanski never did anything terribly wrong—he did—I do think that at his advanced age he bears little threat to anyone and has been punished, served time, and should be able to break out of this impasse. Was he a libertine and a reprobate, did he behave criminally and break the law? Yes. I’d like to see him cop to what he did. But this case is old and cold. There must be a way to fix this.

By the way, The Ghost Writer was one of Polanski’s best, sharpest, most personal films in a long while. I want to see him make more films.

Really, Anne Thompson?

And with that, I’ve unfortunately exhausted most words that I can muster up for this argument. All I have left to say is this:

I can remain silent no longer because Roman Polanski is a rapist who never served time for raping a 13-year-old girl; because I don’t care how old he is, or how long ago it was; because as The New Yorker explored, Polanski relished girls who were minors and showed no remorse for raping or engaging in sex with them; because someone needs to put his old, perverted, privileged, “above-statused” ass in jail already; because anyone who still thinks Polanski is either innocent or should be “let go” of the case needs to seriously reevaluate themselves; and because reallywhat’s not to understand?

Switzerland in the Media, Pt. I: Polanski

Photo by Rita Molnár; Wikipedia Commons

For the past week it’s been reported that Roman Polanski will most likely be released on bail. The latest report from Variety says:

Roman Polanski will remain in jail until Friday as the filmmaker raises the $4.5 million bail, Swiss authorities said Tuesday.

Polanski will basically be under house arrest – mind you, in his “chalet” in the Swiss Alps – until the government decides whether or not to extradite him to the U.S. to be charged for the crime he fled in 1978.

But what if Polanski tries to escape yet again?

I, for one, don’t see why Polanski wouldn’t try to escape this yet again. The fact that he has a family and is almost eighty years old seems to give him more reason to flee.

I guess we’ll have to see what happens. Until then, I am not doubting that he will be released on bail (Variety also reported that in Switzerland, the bail has to be paid in full). After all, if things are still the way they were in early October, Polanski has all of Hollywood behind him.

You can read more about the Polanski case and my initial thoughts on it in this post from October.

Protecting One’s Own: Letterman and Polanski

Like I said in my lengthy Roman Polanski apologists’ post (here ), most of society feels that Hollywood directors, producers, and actors are in the wrong for petitioning the arrest of Polanski because – among the most repetitive of reasons – he is a talented director and has gone through a lot in life. But the biggest part of the defense of their beloved Chinatown director has to be the simple fact that Hollywood is Polanski and vice versa. Why wouldn’t they defend him? He is ONE of them. The rest of us outside of Hollywood wouldn’t “understand” that. (See, I’m still bitter about it.)

Then I read an article on Vanity Fair’s website by Nell Scovell – one of the few female writers to ever work for David Letterman. She writes that after Letterman announced on his show that he’d had sexual affairs in the workplace…:

Most media stars responded by defending one of their own.

That’s when it hit me.

Despite how Hollywood felt, all of us “ordinary” people in society became re-outraged by Polanski’s sexual crimes. But Letterman? We shrugged it off, appreciated that he “handled it so well,” and felt relieved that his sexual affairs with female staffers were not “as bad” as what Polanski did to an unwilling 13-year-old girl.

Then again, the timeliness of the two cases was undoubtedly convenient for Letterman. As Kate Harding parenthetically wrote in a Jezebel article on the subject, “Letterman should probably send Roman Polanski a big fruit basket for ensuring that this scandal came with built-in perspective.”

Don’t misunderstand me here: the two sexual cases between Letterman and Polanski are NOT – I repeat, NOT – in the same boat. Just as a reminder, Polanski drugged and raped a 13-year-old girl and fled the country to escape charges in the U.S., and Letterman had affairs with some of his female staffers.

However, after reading the articles by Kate Harding and Nell Scovell, I’m starting to ask myself…Didn’t we end up doing the same thing for Letterman that Hollywood did for Polanski? After all the sympathizing we did, and after all the “let’s not jump to conclusions” kind of statements we made, I believe we let Letterman off the hook as a society. I mean, he still cheated on his life-long partner (and now wife), and created awkwardness and inappropriateness in the office with his affairs. And what did we say in his defense? You know, without REALLY saying it? Something like this: “Well, he’s funny, and we’ve always loved him, so…what’s the big deal really?”

As much as I love film, I think we relate more to television as a culture. We feel that it’s almost a part of us because we grew up with it and we spend time with it daily. Maybe that’s why we united with the media on the Letterman case and protected one of our own. Much like Hollywood did with their own.

Maybe I’m grasping at straws here too, but I’d like to think I’m on to some kind of connection, one that unconsciously happened within our society.

Polanski’s Friends Tut-tut at Rape Crime

PolanskiIFFKV

Photo: Wikipedia Commons

The more directors and actors that sign the Polanski apologist petition, the more I want to forget I ever studied film and go into sales.

For anyone who hasn’t read the actual petition word for word, it reads as follows (and no, I’m not kidding):

Apprehended like a common terrorist Saturday evening, September 26, as he came to receive a prize for his entire body of work, Roman Polanski now sleeps in prison.

He risks extradition to the United States for an episode that happened years ago and whose principal plaintiff repeatedly and emphatically declares she has put it behind her and abandoned any wish for legal proceedings.

Seventy-six years old, a survivor of Nazism and of Stalinist persecutions in Poland, Roman Polanski risks spending the rest of his life in jail for deeds which would be beyond the statute-of-limitations in Europe.

We ask the Swiss courts to free him immediately and not to turn this ingenious filmmaker into a martyr of a politico-legal imbroglio that is unworthy of two democracies like Switzerland and the United States. Good sense, as well as honor, require it.

Obviously, I’ve bolded the phrases that stand out as most ridiculous to me, mostly due to their elitist and pompous nature. But please note especially that the rape of a 13-year-old child has been belittled to a mere “episode.” Wait, you mean to tell me he was arrested after 32 years for fleeing the country in escape of punishment for a MERE episode?! What absurdity!

Replace “an episode” with “unlawful sex with a minor” (as the law calls it), or more realistically (given the survivor’s account): “the drugging and raping of a 13-year-old girl,” and it doesn’t sound as petty somehow.

These are the things that seem to be trending mentions in Polanski’s defense: the fact that he survived Nazi-occupied Poland and an Austrian concentration camp, the murder of his pregnant wife Sharon Tate by the Manson family (as indescribably horrid as those events must have been – there’s no arguing that), and the fact that he is one of our most celebrated directors of contemporary film. I’m sorry, but none of these excuse Roman Polanski from pleading guilty to charges of unlawful sex with a minor (whom he also drugged and intoxicated, mind you) and fleeing the U.S. in order to escape punishment. Do we bring up a painful past – and so adamantly – for other men who have plead guilty to the same crime?

Oh, but then there’s Harvey Weinstein. (Of The Weinstein Company and co-founder of Miramax, for anyone who doesn’t know.) He released a statement saying, amongst other astonishing things, “Whatever you think about the so-called crime, Polanski has served his time.”

SO-CALLED crime? So now Harvey Weinstein is more apt than the law to determine what’s a REAL crime and what’s a SO-CALLED crime? God help us that he ever goes into law, because then, apparently, raping a minor would only be a SO-CALLED crime. But see, by calling it a “so-called crime,” again, Hollywood elitist assholes can trick themselves and their peers into thinking that no justice need be served, because there’s nothing of real importance or legitimacy to serve justice for.

Way to go, gang. Just keep telling yourselves that. Oh, and by the way, I’m pretty sure Polanski has NOT “served his time” by prancing around Europe freely, remarrying (to a woman 30 years his junior, of course) and having children, while making and releasing films and even winning an Oscar for one of them. Actually, on second thought, that does sound awful. Like, pure torture.

Weinstein also added:

It is a shocking way to treat such a man. Polanski went through the Holocaust and the murder of his wife, Sharon Tate, by the Manson family. How do you go from the Holocaust to the Manson family with any sort of dignity? In those circumstances, most people could not contribute to art and make the kind of beautiful movies he continues to make.

See, in Hollywood, making “beautiful movies” should excuse a fugitive of 30 years.

I’m at a point where I think I am more disgusted with Polanski’s supporters than Polanski himself. That said, we actually have no recent statements from Polanski to go off of. But the words of his supporters say it all. Too much, actually. All of these film festival directors, studio execs, actors, and of course, directors, have proven once and for all that they live in their own little world, with their own little euphemisms to belittle words like “rape” and “crime.” For those who live in this world – the one I’m writing from, the one that everyone else who’s outraged by this lives in – Hollywood has never looked so despicable.

There are two questions for Polanski apologists to consider: 1) What if it was YOUR daughter 30 years ago? and 2) In the words of Joy Behar, “What if Polanski was a plumber?” Would you still support him fiercely then?

Bottom line: Roman Polanski and his allies should feel lucky that he was able to “continue” to make “beautiful movies” all these years, instead of doing what he SHOULD have done – which is, serve time for the crime he pleaded guilty to over 30 years ago.

What’s not to understand about this, I ask you? ALL of you, listed below, who have (thus far) signed the “Free Polanski” petition? What’s NOT to understand?

Fatih Akin, Stephane Allagnon, Woody Allen, Pedro Almodovar, Wes Anderson, Jean-Jacques Annaud, Alexandre Arcady, Fanny Ardant, Asia Argento, Darren Aronofsky, Olivier Assayas, Alexander Astruc, Gabriel Auer, Luc Barnier , Christophe Barratier, Xavier Beauvois , Liria Begeja , Gilles Behat, Jean-Jacques Beineix, Marco Bellochio, Monica Bellucci, Djamel Bennecib, Giuseppe Bertolucci , Patrick Bouchitey, Paul Boujenah, Jacques Bral, Patrick Braoudé, André Buytaers, Christian Carion, Henning Carlsen, Jean-michel Carre, Mathieu Celary, Patrice Chéreau, Elie Chouraqui, Souleymane Cissé, Alain Corneau, Jérôme Cornuau, Miguel Courtois, Dominique Crevecoeur, Alfonso Cuaron, Luc et Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Jonathan Demme, Alexandre Desplat, Rosalinde et Michel Deville, Georges Dybman, Jacques Fansten, Joël Farges, Gianluca Farinelli (Cinémathèque de de Bologne), Etienne Faure, Michel Ferry, Scott Foundas, Stephen Frears, Thierry Frémaux, Sam Gabarski, René Gainville, Tony Gatlif, Costa Gavras, Jean-Marc Ghanassia, Terry Gilliam, Christian Gion, Marc Guidoni, Buck Henry, David Heyman, Laurent Heynemann, Robert Hossein, Jean-Loup Hubert, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Gilles Jacob, Just Jaeckin, Alain Jessua, Pierre Jolivet, Kent Jones (World Cinema Foundation), Roger Kahane, Nelly Kaplan, Wong Kar Waï, Ladislas Kijno, Harmony Korinne, Jan Kounen, Diane Kurys, Emir Kusturica, John Landis, Claude Lanzmann, André Larquié, Vinciane Lecocq, Patrice Leconte, Claude Lelouch, Gérard Lenne, David Lynch, Michael Mann, François Margolin, Jean-PierreMarois, Tonie Marshall, Mario Martone, Nicolas Mauvernay, Radu Mihaileanu, Claude Miller, Mario Monicelli, Jeanne Moreau, Sandra Nicolier, Michel Ocelot, Alexander Payne, Richard Pena (Directeur Festival de NY), Michele Placido, Philippe Radault, Jean-Paul Rappeneau, Raphael Rebibo, Yasmina Reza, Jacques Richard, Laurence Roulet, Walter Salles, Jean-Paul Salomé, Marc Sandberg, Jerry Schatzberg, Julian Schnabel, Barbet Schroeder, Ettore Scola, Martin Scorsese, Charlotte Silvera, Abderrahmane Sissako, Paolo Sorrentino, Guillaume Stirn, Tilda Swinton, Jean-Charles Tacchella, Radovan Tadic, Danis Tanovic, Bertrand Tavernier, Cécile Telerman, Alain Terzian, Pascal Thomas, Giuseppe Tornatore, Serge Toubiana, Nadine Trintignant, Tom Tykwer, Alexandre Tylski, Betrand Van Effenterre, Wim Wenders.‡