Sunday, December 13, 2009

Roman Polanski film screened at Trinity Christian Academy by alleged felon!

I just watched Roman Polanski's Oliver Twist and am completely speechless. Here's a movie that shows children as little more than punching bags and cheap labor, by both 'the good guys' and 'the bad guys'. Everybody blames the children first. Most don't even recognize them as people. Exactly the kind of movie I think needs to be made about the present state of fundamentalist girls and boys homes!

This most sensitive movie about child labor and abuse was made by Roman Polanksi, currently under house arrest for raping a 13 year old girl.

It occurs to me that Roman Polanksi's Chinatown also has abuse at its center. Most great works of art and literature are centered around certain types of abuse. Chinatown culminates in the revelation of an incestuous relationship between a rich father, his daughter, and the daughter they fathered.

The incident with Roman Polanksi and the young girl occurred after Chinatown was released. After Chinatown, he gave us Tess, a movie about a woman making her way through the cruel world. Polanksi develops a reputation for making sensitive films about women.

After that we have an action movie with Harrison Ford, a dumb pirate movie, and a murder mystery, until Polanksi finally comes to his senses and gives us The Tenant. This movie concerns the victims of the Holocaust. After The Tenant, we have Oliver Twist, which is an adaptation of the Dicken's novel about unwanted children, orphans, and women of foul reputation who actually come from pedigreed backgrounds.

Are these choices related to guilt and introspection? Subconscious, of course. Things never confronted with the full force of an awake mind but, in the accepting environment of art, can be recycled into either redemption, a gradual cinematic confession, or both?

To take more cynical bent: were the post Chinatown themes Polanksi chose to work with a grand exercise in the politics of CYA? In case the criticism and controversy flared its ugly head, these movies could be offered as proof that he was indeed, at heart, a kind, sensitive man who would never harm a fly? Let alone a 13 year old girl on qualudes?

Some themes are just inescapable.

When I first learned about one of the accusations against Bob Gray back in 1992, I had just started a cable access show in Long Beach, CA. I don't do that anymore. When I look back at those interviews, the majority of them center on religion and abuse.

I was not an activist. I was not circulating petitions. I think learning about the charges against Gray definitely shifted the focus of my material.

Who are you going to talk to when you hear about something like that?

Who are you going to talk to if you EXPERIENCE something like that?

Here's a more disturbing question: who are you going to talk to if you INSTIGATED an act of abuse?


Whether you have been abuse, or have abused, or just a bystander: art is a poor man's therapist.

Okay, Polanksi's not poor, but the rest of us can make YouTubes, write books and articles, songs and poetry, paintings and photographs, that reflect the inner turmoil and conflict that cannot be expressed in the real world. You can try to express it, but you'll probably be told to 'get over it!'.

Art never tells you that.

Here's an article that I found on the World's Socialist web site.

I know, how appropriate!

I found the one site still praising Polanksi's work, and they're 'buncha socialists'!

The article, all biases aside, does give a concise view of Roman Polanksi films. It also talks about his 'sensitivity' to the issues which the writer uses as proof that we're just a buncha hooligans who won't stop 'all manner of pious and self-righteous bleatings'.

Whatever. . .

Here's an interesting piece of trivia:

I came away from Roman Polanksi's Oliver Twist thinking about the first time I saw Roman Polanski's Macbeth. It was at Trinity Christian Academy in Jacksonville, Florida. 1980. Roman Polanksi's Macbeth, by the way, was produced by Playboy.

Our English teacher screened it. There were a few topless scenes in the movie, which our teacher covered up with his hands over the projector lens.

My former English teacher would eventually face, according to according to, 'decades of sex harassment and abuse allegations'.

A teacher who would be allegedly charged with a felony? Teaching in a school founded by a pastor, who would eventually be arrested on felonious charges of child molestation? And we're watching a movie made by a film director, who, decades later, would also arrested for a similar felony?

My point?

No point, really.

Just trying to comprehend the grand irony of it all. . .


An Evaluation of Roman Polanksi as an artist. (Part One).
An Evaluation of Roman Polanski as an artist. (Part Two).

Oliver Twist:

Roman Polanski's Oliver Twist, a review by The Little Professor.

Excerpt from The Little Professor:

"Oliver spends the entire film being carried, pulled, pushed, and generally manhandled; for all that he's the film's subject, he spends most of the time being an object. "

Yeah, I think most victims and survivors feel the same way!

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