Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Roman Polanski: wanted on DVD

Roman Polanski is once again free after Swiss authorities decided Monday not to extradite him to the United States to face prosecution in a 1977 sex case. Polanski of course was arrested last September upon arriving in Switzerland, where he owns a chalet, to receive a lifetime achievement award from the Zurich Film Festival. The U.S. had sought extradition of the director of such acclaimed films as Repulsion, Rosemary’s Baby, Chinatown and The Pianist, after he fled the country in 1978......Polanski had feared he would be sentenced for as long as 50 years after already having plead guilty in a plea bargain to unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor. He served 42 of 90 days for a psychiatric evaluation. Having served the time he thought being hauled back to court and sentenced again would be a violation of the plea deal. The Swiss justice minister almost concluded the same when she said: “In these circumstances it was not possible to exclude with the necessary certainty that Roman Polanski had already served the sentence to which he was condemned at the time".....From my understanding of the case I’m inclined to agree, an unpopular view. But my opinion is based on a couple of things: the desire by the victim, Samantha Geimer, who was 13 at the time, and long ago called for charges to be dropped.....The other is Marina Zenovich’s 2008 documentary, Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired. The film is a first class journalistic investigation into the case. It features interviews with many of the key participants. These include the former assistant DA who prosecuted the director but ended up being sympathetic to Polanski, Geimer herself, Philip Vannater of the LAPD, Richard Brenneman, a reporter who thoroughly covered the case, gossip columnist Marilyn Beck, even Mia Farrow.....It's definitely worth a view.

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