I’ll admit it. When I heard yesterday that there was a petition going around the film community to free Roman Polanski, I kind of laughed it off, like, “Haha…frivolous Hollywood ‘activism’ at its finest.” I only saw three names on that list, the biggest being Jonathan Demme, so I shrugged it off.
So imagine my absolute dismay to see what the petition actually looks like. I’m completely nauseated to see that some of my favorite directors have signed their names on that petition.
Pedro Almodovar? Julian Schnabel? Stephen Frears? Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu? Alfonso Cuaron? Wes Anderson? Wong Kar Waï? Woody Allen (okay, not too surprising)? Alexander Payne? Tilda Swinton??
Of course, the old boys’ club of Hollywood supports him ( Scorcese, Wim Wenders, etc.), as does Diane von Furstenburg and Salman Rushdie. It’s disgusting.
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.
If only in the name of this friendship between our two countries, we demand the immediate release of Roman Polanski. [emphases added]
A case of morals? WTF? How ’bout a case of rape?! The extradition will be “heavy in consequenses and take away his freedom?” NO SHIT. If he’d just done his time as planned, he’d be out by now.
ARGH! I’m literally nauseated right now.