Incredibly, Roman Polanski is still talking.
Polanski—who famously pled guilty to raping a 13-year-old girl in 1977 before fleeing to Europe, where he remains to this day—has a new film premiering at the Venice Film Festival. Titled An Officer and a Spy, it’s about the Dreyfus Affair, in which a Jewish officer in the French military was falsely accused of spying for Germany. No doubt you already see where this is going.
Deadline reported that he isn’t attending or doing press, but he did an interview with French writer Pascal Bruckner distributed as part of the press notes for the film. For one thing, he suggests that his negative public image is rooted in the aftermath of Sharon Tate’s murder, when people thought he must be involved because he made Rosemary’s Baby—as opposed to, you know, Polanski’s famously pleading guilty to raping a 13-year-old girl and then fleeing the country:
“The way people see me, my ‘image’, did indeed start to form with Sharon Tate’s death. When it happened, even though I was already going through a terrible time, the press got hold of the tragedy and, unsure of how to deal with it, covered it in the most despicable way, implying, among other things, that I was one of the people responsible for her murder, against a background of satanism. For them, my film Rosemary’s Baby, proved that I was in league with the devil! It lasted several months, until the police finally found the real killers, Charles Manson and his ‘family’. All this still haunts me today. Anything and everything. It is like a snowball, each season adds another layer. Absurd stories by women I have never seen before in my life who accuse me of things which supposedly happened more than half a century ago.”
That’s not even the wildest part. Buckle up:
Soon after comes Bruckner’s most remarkable question, “As a Jew who was hunted during the war and a filmmaker persecuted by the Stalinists in Poland, will you survive the present-day neo-feminist McCarthyism which, as well as chasing you all over the world and trying to prevent the screening of your films, among other vexations got you expelled from the Oscars Academy?”
Polanski responds, “Working, making a film like this helps me a lot. In the story, I sometimes find moments I have experienced myself, I can see the same determination to deny the facts and condemn me for things I have not done. Most of the people who harass me do not know me and know nothing about the case….My work is not therapy. However, I must admit that I am familiar with many of the workings of the apparatus of persecution shown in the film, and that has clearly inspired me.”
Yeah, Roman, you’re Alfred fucking Dreyfus. For sure.