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Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired

Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired (2008, Marina, Zenovich)


I'll get this out of the way early - Polanski is one of my favourite directors and has been for years.

Like the majority of film fans I'd known about the reason he doesn't return to the US but I hadn't sought out to read about it in great detail - The Smoking Gun and other websites of that ilk have never really done anything for me. I was only 4 at the time it happened so didn't appreciate the media circus which surrounded events in 1977. That he had pled guilty to sex with an underage girl was proof enough, as far as I was concerned...

Having said that, Wanted and Desired is fascinating - not regarding the sordid details (all of which, I assume, are covered here) but in the way it approaches the legal machinations of how to try and sentence a very famous man.

The prosecuting DA and Polanski's defence lawyer both come out of this as honourable men, the presiding Judge appears as a completely different animal. But, hey, watch the film for the reasons why.

As a piece of documentary cinema, Wanted and Desired tries hard to be impartial. Really really hard. Alas, the talking heads on show come mainly from the director's friends and colleagues. The Judge has passed away, the girl (well, woman in her early 40s now) in question, who seems as sensible and grounded as one could imagine, appears sitting alongside her lawyer throughout and the resulting interview just doesn't have the immediacy one might expect. I wonder what would happen if the story had played out in today's instant internet age, where everyone not only has an opinion but the ability to broadcast it to the world?

All in all, Wanted and Desired shows how the Justice system failed not only the young woman concerned but also the man accused of the crime(s), and shows it pretty well.

Not essential but pretty darned interesting nonetheless and told with a surprisingly light (but never disrespectful to any of the parties) touch. Well worth a look.