Roman Polanski: Wanted, Desired and above all else Guilty

   He hides a smirk as he states his fondness for young girls. The fugitive, currently evading imprisonment for charges relating to drugging and raping a minor, nonchalantly brushes aside the severity of his crimes - after all, he suggests, do not all men share his perversion? This notion is unchallenged by a stark, formal interviewer, no doubt overwhelmed by being in the presence of a man lauded as a genius.

   The man in question is Roman Polanski - director of Chinatown and Rosemary's Baby, and a convicted child abuser who fled America to avoid jail. The scene described above is the opening sequence to a documentary of his crimes entitled Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired.

   Against all logic, the titular Polish filmmaker is the protagonist in Marina Zenovich's film - an unrepentant monster we are asked to feel sympathy for on the dual accounts that his movies are critically lauded and that the crimes her perpetrated are in the distant past.

   It is this logic which states that if a lesser artist, let's say Uwe Boll, were to commit the same crimes, jail time would be forthcoming as Postal doesn't quite match up to the same standards as Knife in the Water. Or would an immigrant plumber be granted the same leniency as an artist?

   Or, perhaps, if a Nazi had lived in South America for twenty years post-World War Two, their crimes should simply be forgotten as events of distant the past. Each of these hypothetical case-in-points are absurd, as are the arguments which try to add shades of gray to a very black and white subject matter.

   In absolutist terms, of which this case must be viewed from, what Polanski did can not be defended in either moral or legal terms - his actions were both illegal and immoral. That he had evil inflicted upon him prior to his actions does not absolve him nor give him carte blanche to do as he may. 

   This is a genuinely evil documentary, using the power of cinema to try and absolve a child abuser of his crimes and responsibilities. Everyone involved - the criminal and his defendants - should hang their heads in shame. Would Zenovich make a similar puff-piece PR exercise for Charles Manson? That would, of course, be despicable. This, too, is a poorly made, poor taste film.

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