Wednesday, September 30, 2009

An Outrage

This petition for Roman Polanski makes me want to vomit:

"We have learned the astonishing news of Roman Polanski’s arrest by the Swiss police on September 26th, upon arrival in Zurich (Switzerland) while on his way to a film festival where he was due to receive an award for his career in filmmaking. His arrest follows an American arrest warrant dating from 1978 against the filmmaker, in a case of morals. Filmmakers in France, in Europe, in the United States and around the world are dismayed by this decision. It seems inadmissible to them that an international cultural event, paying homage to one of the greatest contemporary filmmakers, is used by the police to apprehend him. By their extraterritorial nature, film festivals the world over have always permitted works to be shown and for filmmakers to present them freely and safely, even when certain States opposed this. The arrest of Roman Polanski in a neutral country, where he assumed he could travel without hindrance, undermines this tradition: it opens the way for actions of which no one can know the effects. Roman Polanski is a French citizen, a renown and international artist now facing extradition. This extradition, if it takes place, will be heavy in consequences and will take away his freedom. Filmmakers, actors, producers and technicians—everyone involved in international filmmaking—want him to know that he has their support and friendship. On September 16th, 2009, Mr. Charles Rivkin, the US Ambassador to France, received French artists and intellectuals at the embassy. He presented to them the new Minister Counselor for Public Affairs at the embassy, Ms Judith Baroody. In perfect French she lauded the Franco-American friendship and recommended the development of cultural relations between our two countries."

Here are some of the non-French signatories: 

Woody Allen, Pedro Almodovar, Terry Gilliam, Martin Scorcese, David Lynch, Jonathan Demme, Tilda Swinton, John Landis, Michael Mann, Wong Kar Wai, and Wim Wenders.

The full list (of over 100) is here. Looks like a lot of filmmakers believe there's one law for the little people, and one for themselves... 
Update: I was wondering why the US had decided to arrest him now, then I read this. If you want your crimes to be forgotten, it might be unwise to have a sycophantic film made about them...

9 comments:

JennyMac said...

Unfortunately, I find it is not just filmmakers who have this belief...

A Doubtful Egg said...

Thanks for dropping into Chez Doubtful, JennyMac! I got a mighty chuckle out of (among other things) your list of dodgy university courses (I would definitely score high in the "Joy of Garbage" course at Santa Clara U!)
I know that powerful elites will always close ranks to protect one of their own - living in Ireland, this is sickeningly obvious in our various banking and clerical scandals - but, naively, I always get a shock when artists do it. I mean, isn't great art supposed to be about truth? I certainly know there's a few filmmakers I'll be boycotting from now on...

jams o donnell said...

You won't find me in any disagreement on this Egg

Sean Jeating said...

Thinking one step further: These very artists getting their will.
It would be a fine precedent for the fucking paedophiles on this planet, hm?!

Why would I not set asterisks despite having (with great pleasure!) read your post about them bleedin' cuss words?
Tomorrow I shall hopefully find and/or take the time to answer this.

As for this very posting, again: D'accord!
The peace of the night, my friend.

A Doubtful Egg said...

Thanks Sean and Jams (and the use of them cuss words is totally appropriate in this context). What I find disgraceful about the petition (aside from its existence) is the evasive and self-serving language it uses, as if Mr Polanski was a outspoken rebellious filmmaker being crushed by a totalitarian state ("By their extraterritorial nature, film festivals the world over have always permitted works to be shown and for filmmakers to present them freely and safely, even when certain States opposed this.") My favorite line (aside from the jawdropper about "a case of morals" - change that to "a case of raping a 13-year-old" and the whole text suddenly changes its tone considerably) is "This extradition, if it takes place, will be heavy in consequences and will take away his freedom." Well, duh! I always had the naive impression that one of the functions of even the most liberal of states was to deprive you of your freedom if you commit certain crimes, such as murder and rape! I'm reminded of a line in The Simpsons, where a Hollywood star stands before a judge, who sings: "I should put you away where you can't kill or maim us/But this is LA, and you're rich and famous."

Stan said...

Doubtful: I'm aghast at the characters jumping to Polanski's defence, and I share your shock at the fact that it's a roll-call of artists doing so. I couldn't condone a diplomatic silence, not to mention an explicit call for his protection. (Which reminds me - not wishing to stray off-topic, but did Aosdána ever issue a statement about Cathal O S.?)

A Doubtful Egg said...

Several high-profile members of Aosdána wrote letters to The Irish Times in defence of COS (and identified themselves as such). To the best of my knowledge, Aosdána never issued any statement on the matter, and COS is still a member, according to their website.

Claudia said...

I've already said so much on Jams' post on the subject. I totally agree with everything I read here.
I've boycotted this rapist from the time he escaped justice. I never understood that he was welcomed anywhere, allowed to practice his art, and that people were willing to work with him.

As far as I'm concerned this man has dirtied everyone who calls him/her self a friend. There should be a very public petition signed by VIPs and UNKNOWNs (like me) to bring him to justice immediately, and be sentenced to long-term jail.

A Doubtful Egg said...

That's a good idea! Although I imagine that in the film world, fear for their careers might stop a lot of people from signing. As I said before, so much for truth and integrity... (Apparently, Ireland's own Neil Jordan has apparently signed the petition, although his name hasn't appeared on the website yet. Isn't it interesting that many of the non-French directors that signed it haven't made a good film in years? I'm reminded of the chant in Freaks: "One of us! One of us!")