Well, actually, you know?

French feminists have voiced outrage over a planned retrospective of the films of director Roman Polanski, who has been accused of several sexual assaults, calling it “an insult” to women following the Harvey Weinstein scandal.

The retrospective is being organised by the Cinémathèque Française, a major Paris-based film archive that is partly funded by the state.

Polanski, who is wanted in the United States for having unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl in 1977, is scheduled to attend the opening on Monday.

In a petition calling for the event to be cancelled, activist Laure Salmona said it was “indecent” to honour Polanski at a time when women are beginning to open up about sexual abuse and harassment in the wake of the allegations that toppled Hollywood producer Weinstein.

“It’s an insult to all the women who mobilised around the #MeToo and #BalanceTonPorc (Expose the pig) hashtags,” she wrote.

The films are the films. The man’s an utter shit of course, but the films still are the films.

We might call this a derivative of pecunia non olet.

Arthur Koestler was equally a shit – he most certainly raped at least one woman. Darkness at Noon is still a good book. Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath didn’t, umm, work out well together. But the poetry stands as the poetry. From memory Einstein was less than nice to his first wife but the equations still work.

23 thoughts on “Well, actually, you know?”

  1. Polanski, who is wanted in the United States for having unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl in 1977

    I remember the days when the Guardian would have called this “rape”.

  2. A review in today’s press… Everyone talks about Mondigliani’s drinking and addiction. He was an incorrigible womaniser, inveterate charmer and reckless drunk – danced naked with models. But actually that’s not what’s most interesting. He worked hard. And in the long run it’s the work that mattered.

  3. Its the fact that he’s still enjoying his freedom and this kind of thing enhances his enjoyment that gives me a lot of sympathy for the ‘french feminist’s’ here. I would never boycott a film because someone involved in its production was a criminal, but i’m not going to a party to celebrate his achievements while he’s still alive to have his feathers puffed by it.

  4. Hallowed Be is perfectly correct: the important thing is that Polanski is alive and down to attend the opening. Had Polanski the good taste to be dead, it would be a different kettle of fish entirely.

  5. Hallowed Be,

    It depends how it’s handled, but I don’t have a problem with a retrospective of the work, if that’s what it’s limited to. There is a thing about seeing all of a director’s work together.

    Even with him attending – if that’s a Q&A, those are generally about the filmmaking, the production and so forth.

  6. Terry Richardson, Roman Polanski, Arthur Koestler, Harvey Weinstein and Albert Einstein. Those Shiksas won’t abuse themselves now, will they?

  7. I appreciate everyone is anxious to virtue signal these days, however it’s worth quoting from a recent interview with Martin Amis: “Almost every reasonably energetic baby boomer I know, women included, would be utterly destroyed by an equivalent investigation. We behaved far more deplorably than Trump (et al) and managed it without the wealth, the planes and penthouses, the ownership of modelling agencies and beauty pageants.”

  8. BonM4-
    Tim’s point is true but “even him attending?” He did a runner, he should (and not the moral kind of should the legal kind of should) have spent time behind bars. He preferred to carry on making films and bask in the adoration. What’s more pleasurable than people asking you “Cher Romain why do you make such great films?”

    This is why protesting his personal appearances is fair game. Don’t get me wrong, i’m not going to be lifting a finger, mainly because i’m not using it as a cause celebre to peddle my feminist ideology to would be idealists. But as i said i sympathise.

    And what’s more Roman must have had friends in very high places to avoid US extradition for all these years, i think those friends should be made to squirm every time they turn up to toast champagne with their rapist buddy.

    fiat justitia ruat caelum

  9. Bernie G- yes true my comment is a virtue signal, cheap and easy i know (i did say i’d not lift a personal finger but suppose you do have to that multiple times to type out your signal). But i’m signalling that decided justice under due process is more important than fame and artistic achievement. False dichotomy? yes when they are dead, probably if they’ve served their time, no when they are a fugitive.

    I’m not persuaded by the everyone did it defence, because it’s not a defence. If it’s against the law and if they did it and it was proven they did they have to serve the sentence, energetic baby boomer or not.

  10. There are some people who suspect that Einstein and his first wife murdered their daughter who was, they think, not up to snuff. But even if they did (and I have no reason to think so) his work stands.

    Indeed, though he was parsimonious to nearly the point of fraud at giving acknowledgement to the prior work of others, his work still stands.

  11. The ‘everyone did it defence’… I was thinking more of the general brouhaha over Trump and George Bush Sr. rather than Polanski. The moral relativism of the 60s, 70s and 80s versus now. Of course this doesn’t extend to breaking the law and being held to account, either then or now.

  12. Polanski is a bad bloke.

    But I see no morality in using that fact to help advance a far worse cause–Marxian feminism. Polanski can only have harmed at most a few women–the13 yr old is the only one known of to my knowledge at least. Femmi-poison is well on the road to being part of the CM takedown of Western civilisation.

    Again the point I keep making about Weinstein etc should be about leftist hypocrisy is being drowned out by mass “All men are pigs” femmi-shite.

    The scummy left can’t bury Weinstein so the plan is to charge forward and put as much “wicked men” bullshit into the air as possible, Savile panic-style, in the hope that the leftist connection will be swamped and hidden/forgotten in the cacophony.

    Looks to me like the pukes are succeeding.

  13. Ms France-Presse is trying to ride the pop culture wave. As if she has a soul.

    ‘The new claims bring to at least four the number of women who have publicly accused him of sexual assault.’

    More accused Bill Clinton. Lefty selective outrage.

  14. I think the Polanski story is a bit more nuanced. He suffered seeing traumatic events during the war in Poland. He was charged with statutory rape – i.e. because the girl was under age. I believe she has said she doesn’t want him prosecuted now. He accepted a plea bargain then the judge changed his mind, so he fled. His films are in my opinion some of the most profound and unsettling ever made.

  15. Can’t see why witnessing terrible events in wartime is mitigation for buggering a fourteen year old girl. Arguing that is a tough proposition.

  16. “Can’t see why witnessing terrible events in wartime is mitigation for buggering a fourteen year old girl. Arguing that is a tough proposition.”

    Especially as he drugged her first with Quaaludes…

  17. Re: Quaaludes

    Bill Cosby gets pilloried, Polanski gets a standing ovation at the Oscars…

    Funny old world…

  18. Hallowed Be,

    “Tim’s point is true but “even him attending?” He did a runner, he should (and not the moral kind of should the legal kind of should) have spent time behind bars. He preferred to carry on making films and bask in the adoration. What’s more pleasurable than people asking you “Cher Romain why do you make such great films?””

    And that would be where it stepped over a line, in a way that “can you explain your process of working with Robert Towne” isn’t. Although I suspect that a lot of questions might be like that.

    I rule myself out of any Polanski thing on the very simple reason that I’m not that bothered by his films. I don’t have to ask the question of whether I’d go to such an event. Although my instinct is that I wouldn’t.

  19. mike fowle,

    “I think the Polanski story is a bit more nuanced. He suffered seeing traumatic events during the war in Poland. He was charged with statutory rape – i.e. because the girl was under age. I believe she has said she doesn’t want him prosecuted now. He accepted a plea bargain then the judge changed his mind, so he fled. His films are in my opinion some of the most profound and unsettling ever made.”

    Lots of people suffered traumatic events during the war in Poland without raping 14 year olds.

    He was charged with rape because he raped her. If she’d been 18, it would have been rape.

    It’s irrelevant whether she wants him prosecuted or not. We don’t just prosecute rapists based on what a victim wants. We prosecute rapists to prevent more victims.

    No, there was no plea bargain that Polanski could go free. The plea bargain was to remove more serious charges, but the remaining charge could still have a custodial sentence.

  20. The plea bargain was, “Plead guilty to ‘unlawful sex’ and we won’t charge you with ‘forcible rape of a minor’.” There never was a deal that Polanski wouldn’t go to prison, that was an excuse that his lawyers made up after he became a fugitive.

  21. Stanley Spencer rarely washed and smelt terrible. Still a great painter. Jackson Pollock certainly had a personality disorder. Robert Lowell ill treated his wife. etc etc

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