Polanski was captured before a public appearance at the Zurich Film Festival, to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award.
Members of the Society of Dramatic Authors and Composers (SACD), a French organization that manages copyrights and royalties, were outraged by Polanski’s arrest. They circulated a petition, demanding his release. The President of France agreed. Nicholas Sarkozy said:
I understand that people are shocked by the gravity of the accusations against Roman Polanski. But I add that it is not a good administration of justice to do this 32 years after the facts when the person concerned is today 76 years old.
Sarkozy is the father of five children. Has his opinion changed since his daughter Giulia was born?
Roman Polanski is Wanted
Polanski appealed his extradition. He was jailed for two months, then placed under house arrest for 8 months, until a Swiss court rejected his extradition. Roman Polanski is still wanted by Interpol for “unlawful sexual intercourse with a female under 18 years of age.”
Polanski was sued by his victim. He paid about $600,000 in damages without returning to the United States.
Actress Charlotte Lewis auditioned for Polanski when she 16-years-old. She claims Polanski told her:
If you’re not a big enough girl to have sex with me, you’re not big enough to do the screen test. I must sleep with every actress that I work with, that’s how I get to know them, how I mould them.
Praising Talent over Lifestyle
Everyone admires someone. We can admire talent over lifestyle.
I admire F. Scott Fitzgerald. He was a gifted writer, who drank himself to death. He did not rape children.
My favorite film is Airplane! I have seen one film by Roman Polanski. Chinatown was popular in my neighborhood, because everyone wanted to see Jack Nicholson’s ear sliced off by a razor.
Polanski did a good job. Jack Nicholson still has both ears. Did Nicholson reward Polanski with the key to his house, for sex with a young girl?
The Zurich Film Festival ignored Polanski’s arrest. They presented a Lifetime Achievement Award to Polanski in 2011:
Director Roman Polanski will attend the upcoming 7th Zurich Film Festival to accept the lifetime achievement award that was intended for him two years ago, to honor his outstanding career achievements as a filmmaker.
Polanski received a 10 minute standing ovation after the presentation.
Locarno Film Festival
The Locarno Film Festival is the most popular annual event in Locarno Switzerland, a city of 15,000 residents.
Roman Polanski expected to be “a guest of honor at the 67th Festival del film Locarno, where he will give a talk about film that is open to the public.” Polanski also expected to receive a lifetime achievement award. Artistic Director Carlo Chatrian said:
I am sure that the opportunity to meet a filmmaker who resists all forms of dogmatism will prove to be one of the most exciting moments of the Festival.
A dogmatist is “a stubborn, assertive, opinionated person.” Polanski is a fugitive rapist.
Polanski did not receive an award or ovation in Locarno.
He declined the invitation after complaints. The Christian Democratic Party urged delegates to boycott the festival. Member Firenzo Dadò described Polanski as a:
paedophile who drugged and raped a girl and is now being received with full honours
Artistic Director, Carlo Chatrian was sad, because he unable to meet Roman Polanski. Chatrian said:
I am sad because the audience of the Piazza Grande won’t be able to salute a Master of Cinema. I am sad because the idea of the Festival as a meeting and debating place today receives a big blow.
The Locarno Film Festival presented Polanski’s Lifetime Achievement Award to Armin Mueller-Stahl.