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Roman Polanski Bows Out of Locarno Film Festival Visit Due to Controversy

Roman Polanski Bows Out of Locarno Film Festival Visit Due to Controversy

The Academy Award-winning director of “The Pianist” has been a fugitive from the U.S. justice system since 1977 when he was convicted for sex offenses with a minor. The 80-year-old director lives in Paris.

Polanski was supposed to give a master class to the Summer Academy on Friday. Carlo Chatrian, the festival’s artistic director, has been facing criticism from the press and local politicians about Polanski’s involvement since the start of the festival. On Tuesday, Chatrian said he was “deeply saddened” by the news that Polanski would not be attending the festival and disturbed by the fact that some people had “crossed the line” with “unacceptable personal attacks….I
am sad because those taking part in the festival have been deprived of
meeting an extraordinary artist. … I am sad because the concept of the
festival as a place of debate and gathering has been dealt a heavy
blow.” Read his full statement here.

READ MORE: Why the Locarno Film Festival is Unlike Any Other Moviegoing Experience

In his letter to the festival declining attendance, Polanski wrote: “Dear Friends, I am sorry to inform you that having considered the extent to which my planned appearance at the Locarno Festival provokes tensions and controversies among those opposed to my visit, even as I respect their opinions, it is with a heavy heart that I must cancel my visit. I am deeply saddened to disappoint you.”

In response, the festival described the cancellation as a “setback” saying that “the public will thereby be deprived of an important opportunity for cultural enrichment.” The festival also said that it “continues to affirm its commitment to the principle of free and unfettered artistic expression.”

In 2009, when Polanski attended the Zurich Film Festival in 2009 to receive a prize he was arrested.

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Pierre Kalfon

Roman Polanski ,beside the fact that he is one of the most talented film makervworld wide has suffered from so many plagues in his life that sometimrs I think he should be cleaned from what was a misdeaminor in a time and a country of hipocrisycand hate.
I have respected his discretion all along though I am his friend akd advise him to abstain to appear an support events which hide unfair political debates.


How dare you call yourself Sharon Tate in this context??!


The love of his life, was slaughtered. Think about that. People get let off don’t they? Often for very questionable reasons.

Sharon Tate

Rohan, your facts aren’t all there.

Polanski served a few weeks of court-ordered psych evaluation as part of his plea bargain. He fled the jurisdiction before even completing that.

It should be noted that the court allowed him to finish a project before beginning his plea bargain.

The US courts have the right to vacate any plea bargain if they feel the DA or the defendant have not acted in good faith. The courts felt (and history has proved them correct) that Polanski was up to his end of the deal.

Whether or not there are worse criminals in the world is irrelevant. How many of them -convicted criminals- receive asylum in the film community?

Our focus, as members of society, must be on the equal application of law.


Dear, Jared, Mr. Polanski did serve time in prison, which was ordered at the time by the court. But, later, when he was out, I believe, on probation, a new district attorney, whom I believe is dead now, opened the case and asked the judge for a review one more time to simply put Mr. Polanski back to prison for several years. To Mr. Polanski that was not fair at all as he already passed time in prison the first time, which was ordered by the court. He decided to leave United States for that very reason, but not for escaping to avoid or erase what went wrong in the bedroom with the minor. Jared, there are far worse criminals out there today walking freely on the street who on purpose commit crimes such as murder, rape, you name it. Our focus, as members of the society, must be on those dangerous individuals. What Mr. Polanski did, I am not defending him, but he has paid the price. Let it go, and move on.

Jared Watkins

Why is it that people defend this man against the fact that he committed a heinous CRIME that, if he were not a famous director, would (and should) have landed him in jail. It doesn’t matter that the victim claims to have "gotten over" it or whatever, he committed a disgusting, unspeakable crime and he should be a man and accept his punishment. Anyone defending him is astoundingly immoral. I don’t care how great his work is, he committed a crime and then fled the country to avoid having to pay for it. And everyone let him. Pathetic.

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