Friday, April 23, 2010
Marina Zenovich's Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired (2008) criticizes the mob-like press corps who dog Polanski (top two stills) after the murder of his wife, Sharon Tate, and then a few years later, after he was accused of unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13 year old girl. The film pits two unreliable characters against each other: Roman Polanski vs. Judge Rittenband (who oversaw his case), yet the two men are only seen and heard in archival footage and recollections of other people (Polanski is not interviewed for the movie and Rittenband died years ago). One of Polanski's friends, for example, approvingly if euphemistically tells us about the director's "appetite for life." Zenovich and editor Joe Bini's persuasive use of news footage and clips from Polanski's movies sets up the enduring mystery of whether Polanski is perpetrator or victim. Producer Daniel Melnick (above), among a fascinating assortment of other interviewees, helps to ground the story.