Polański about his childhood in occupied Poland, his escape from the Kraków ghetto, the murder of Sharon Tate, his pregnant wife, and other important events from his life.
Roman Polański in Laurent Bouzereau's "Roman Polański: A Film Memoir"
Polański about his childhood in occupied Poland, his escape from the Kraków ghetto, the murder of Sharon Tate, his pregnant wife, the arrest that led him to flee the U.S. in 1978, and his life and work today in France with his wife Emmanuelle Seigner. Roman Polański: A Film Memoir is director Laurent Bouzereau’s honest homage to Polański
An attempt to answer intriguing questions about how the 6-year-old Jewish boy survived the war while his parents were sent to a concentration camp, or why the young actor wasn’t admitted to acting school in socialist Poland, Roman Polański: A Film Memoir touches on childhood, emotions and fears.
Shot by French director Laurent Bouzereau during Roman Polański's house arrest in Switzerland, the film has Polański's friend and long term associate Andrew Braunsberg conversing with the Polish filmmaker.
Polański had been arrested after arriving in Zurich for a film festival, on the basis of a U.S. arrest warrant issued in 1977, when he'd been charged with seducing a minor. His Swiss villa was surrounded by a crowd of journalists and paparazzi. "Bouzereau’s film is a sign of support for the besieged artist", Bartosz Staszczyszyn writes in an article for Culture.pl. The man behind the idea for the film, Andrew Braunsberg, has known Polański for almost 50 years. Critics have commented, as Screendaily puts it, on how openly and emotionally Polański responds to Braunsberg’s questions.
Intimacy is further achieved thanks to members of the film team who have previously worked with Polański including Paweł Edelman behind the camera and Alexandre Desplat, who is responsible for the music and who worked on the director's The Ghostwriter and Carnage.
While the film doesn’t aim to provide evidence for or against Polański in the decades-old case of sexual assault, Bouzereau takes a daring step in drawing links between the filmmaker’s childhood spent in the Kraków ghetto and scenes from The Pianist. Illustrated with excerpts from Polanski’s films, news footage, press clippings and private and exclusive photos, the film intertwines his life with the subjects of his films. Nevertheless, critics such as Filmmaker's Brandon Harris suggest that, "The film’s cumulative effect is rather enervating given its fascinating subject" and declare that the film feels "longer than it actually is and much less relevant than it would like to be".
Paweł Edelman and Roman Polański on the set of "The Pianist"
"If there are any surprises to be had in Roman Polanski: A Film Memoir, they may be for people expecting a monster to see instead a human being, thoughtful, eloquent and emotional as he reflects on what, by any accounts, has been an extraordinary life" comments Hollywood Reporter's Scott Roxborough. "The film reveals Polański as a strong yet delicate person with many scars", Bartosz Staszczyszyn writes in his article for Culture.pl, "It shows an outstanding artist who still has an appetite for cinema and life".
Polański's cinematic output includes the thriller Chinatown, the gloomy Rosemary’s Baby, Cul-de-sac, the strongly psychological The Tenant and the recent Carnage based on Yasmin Reza’s play. Asked about the movie of his lifetime, Polański answers,
If they were to put a film reel on my grave, I would want it to be The Pianist.
The documentary's world premiere took place at the 2011 Zurich Film Festival, where Polański received a lifetime achievement award. At the event, A Film Memoir was featured as the 'surprise film'. In 2012, the Cannes Film Festival showed it as part of the Special Screenings section.
- Roman Polański: A Film Memoir, directed by: Laurent Bouzereau, cinematography: Paweł Edelman, music: Alexandre Desplat, producer: Andrew Braunsberg. Distribution: Galapagos. Language: English.
Sources: original article by Bartosz Staszczyszyn for culture.pl, culture.pl, Hollywood reporter, Screendaily
Translated and edited by MJ 08.05.2013