Roman Polanski: A Film Memoir – The Director Speaks On His Life
Ed. note: You can view this film on iTunes, Amazon, youtube and other digital formats.
Does free will exist or “is it all written?” That is the question philosophically posed at the end of Roman Polanski: A Film Memoir. The documentary about the infamous director’s life – in his own words, as told to one of his best friends – reveals more about the man while still leaving a few questions slightly unanswered.
To many, Polanski is known equally for his film exploits and his extradition from the United States for pleading guilty to unlawful sex with a minor, Samantha Geimer, in 1977. Those that know only of Polanski through the media will naturally have come to some conclusions about the man without knowing the truth. A Film Memoir sheds light on the incidents of 1977, while covering everything from a rough childhood, his rise to fame, the death of his pregnant girlfriend, and several things in between.
Polanski has been through unquestionable tragedies. From his childhood, much of which is depicted indirectly in his film The Pianist, which won Best Picture at the Oscars and allowed Adrian Brody to take home a statue while stealing a kiss from Halle Berry; to his adult life, post his extradition, the director speaks candidly on multiple subjects from his perspective. It is shocking knowing the amount of pain and suffering, the struggles he has had to overcome and the perseverance he has shown in order to become the success he has.
The film is an interesting piece of work, though a standard conversation largely from a format standpoint. Polanski’s work has often echoed images or instances from his life and had them placed on celluloid. The film deftly handles many of these in the first third of its 90-minute running time. The film covers tragedies in each “act” and still leaves the viewer with perhaps a few questions, particularly surrounding the 1977 incident. Only you can be the judge about what you hear and see, but for those with even a modest curiosity about the director, this is a worthwhile biographical piece to endure. Recommended.