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Polanski wins best director at Cesars, prompting walkout protest

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Polanski wins best director at Cesars, prompting walkout protest

By Elizabeth Pineau and Richard Lough

 

2020-02-28T222655Z_2_LYNXNPEG1R112_RTROPTP_4_AWARDS-CESARS-POLANSKI.JPG

FILE PHOTO: Film director Roman Polanski arrives at the Madeleine Church to attend a ceremony during a 'popular tribute' to late French singer and actor Johnny Hallyday in Paris, France, December 9, 2017. REUTERS/Charles Platiau/File Photo

 

PARIS (Reuters) - Roman Polanski cast a shadow over France's Cesar Awards on Friday even as he won best directing for his film "An Officer and a Spy," with several women in the audience walking out in protest at honouring a man facing rape accusations.

 

The French-Polish director's dozen nominations had divided opinion in France, a country where the #MeToo movement that inspired women globally to out powerful men for sexual misconduct has struggled to gain traction.

 

Polanski, 86, whose film also picked up awards for best adaptation and best costume designer, stayed away from the event, saying he feared he would be lynched.

 

Controversy had swirled around the inclusion in the awards programme of Polanski, who fled the United States for France in the late 1970s after admitting raping a 13-year-old girl, and faces more recent allegations of sexual assault.

 

Polanski denies the latest accusations against him.

 

During the ceremony, the biggest night on the French cinema calendar, Polanski served as both lightning rod and punch line, with the ceremony's host quipping about paedophilia.

 

"It is the last (event) of one era and the first of another," actress Sandrine Kiberlain said.

 

Among those who left the venue early was leading actress Adele Haenel, who last year revealed she had been sexually abused as a child by another director.

 

Haenel told the New York Times before the ceremony that France had "missed the boat" on #MeToo and criticised the Cesar Awards for recognising Polanski.

 

"Distinguishing Polanski is spitting in the face of all victims. It means raping women isn't that bad," she said.

 

Protesters outside clashed with police shortly before the biggest names in French film arrived at the Pleynel concert hall, but none made it onto the red carpet. Nearby, other protesters peacefully waved placards reading "Shame on an industry that protects rapists."

 

WRONG MESSAGE IN #METOO ERA

 

"An Officer and a Spy" chronicles the persecution of French Jewish army officer Alfred Dreyfus in the 1890s. It lost out on best film to "Les Miserables".

 

Polanski himself survived the Holocaust, while his mother died in a Nazi concentration camp. He shot to fame in the United States with his 1968 Hollywood film "Rosemary's Baby."

 

Polanski's cast and production team boycotted the Cesars on Friday after Culture Minister Franck Riester said the success of a director accused of sexual violence would send the wrong signal in the #MeToo era.

 

French photographer Valentine Monnier last year accused Polanski of raping her in 1975 when she was an 18-year-old model and actress. Polanski has denied the charge.

 

It is the second time in five months that recognition of Polanski, who was expelled last year from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences - which bestows the Oscars - has prompted disquiet.

 

Organisers of the Venice Film Festival drew criticism for including Polanski's work in the programme. It went on to take the festival's Silver Lion Grand Jury in September.

 

The French awards come in the same week that Harvey Weinstein, once one of Hollywood’s most influential producers, was convicted of sexual assault and rape by a New York court.

 

Several male actors tiptoed carefully around the subject of Polanski on Friday night.

 

"I hope that we will always be able to continue playing the game of seduction with each other in cinema and in real life.

There, I made it, I offended no one," said actor and director Mathieu Kassovitz.

 

Critics of the #MeToo movement in France say it is puritanical and fuelled by a hated of men.

 

Ahead of the Cesars, former French film star Brigitte Bardot rallied support for Polanski.

 

"We should be thankful that Polanski is alive and saving French cinema from mediocrity," Bardot said on Twitter. "I judge him by his talent, not his private life."

 

(Reporting by Richard Lough and Elizabeth Pineau; Editing by Leslie Adler)

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2020-02-29

 

 

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3 hours ago, rooster59 said:

"We should be thankful that Polanski is alive and saving French cinema from mediocrity," Bardot said on Twitter. "I judge him by his talent, not his private life."

being a genius he deserves the award !

if he is a sexual predator, then the common sense of some people who agreed to service for a role is at stake, raping, and that goes without saying, is a despicable act. 
for judging a despicable act, our society has something called Judiciary System that is a separate pillar from the legislative and enforcement pillars of government. Let him be judged there, not where he cannot defend himself or where his other qualities are being honored.

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1 hour ago, KKr said:

Let him be judged there

They tried that, but he fled and has since never set foot in any country that has an extradition treaty with the US. So, he’s still on the run for over 4 decades now.

 

Normally I would absolutely agree with separating private life from occupation in the case of musicians, actors, directors etc., i.e. I don’t care whether Tom Cruise is a member of Scientology, I still like him as an actor, BUT this is the raping and drugging of a 13 year old girl we are talking about here. Obviously there are legal as well as moral consequences in society for a crime like that and in my opinion he shouldn’t be nominated for/leave alone win anything until he served time for what he did.
 

 

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17 hours ago, pacovl46 said:

They tried that, but he fled and has since never set foot in any country that has an extradition treaty with the US. So, he’s still on the run for over 4 decades now.

 

Normally I would absolutely agree with separating private life from occupation in the case of musicians, actors, directors etc., i.e. I don’t care whether Tom Cruise is a member of Scientology, I still like him as an actor, BUT this is the raping and drugging of a 13 year old girl we are talking about here. Obviously there are legal as well as moral consequences in society for a crime like that and in my opinion he shouldn’t be nominated for/leave alone win anything until he served time for what he did.
 

 

Fair comment.

was Polanski convicted ?

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49 minutes ago, KKr said:

Fair comment.

 .

 

was Polanski convicted ?

 

 

interesting case as I found out now. The latest ruling seems to be 

“ Judge Espinoza also stated there was misconduct by the judge in the original case but Polanski must return to the United States to actually apply for dismissal.”” (wiki)

 

what leaves the question open whether Polanski was wrongfully convicted.

in the original court case, he was not convicted on any of the charges by the way ! 

He entered a plea bargain of having sex with a minor what can mean that he just wanted to close the case, or that the prosecution did not have a strong case, or a number of other possibilities.


So the court did not rule on the charges like drugging etc. and one is innocent until proven guilty.
 

also the court did not give a ruling concerning possible misconduct by the first judge ( undue influence by prosecutor’s office ), and that leaves the French citizen, Justice, and the Youngster (who wants to get out of the news 30 years on and has made supportive statements on the dismissal) involved in a Catch22.


not as clear cut as the hit-and-run so often referred to on TV

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, KKr said:

Fair comment.

was Polanski convicted ?

In a nutshell, he was indicted on 6 charges including rape. During his arraignment he pled not guilty. His lawyer arranged a plea deal, which would have dropped 5 of the charges apart from unlawful intercourse with a minor. Due to this deal he pled guilty to the unlawful sex with a minor charge. Due to him having pled guilty he was ordered to undergo 90 days of psychiatric evaluation of which he served 42 days and he was then released. Upon his release he agreed to a plea bargain which would have had been time served (42 days) plus probation, but then he learned that the judge was to disregard the plea bargain and sentence him to 50 years in prison. The judge reportedly told a friend of Polanski’s that he will see to it that he’ll never leave prison again. Following that, Polanski’s lawyer met with the judge and confirmed afterwards that the judge had changed his mind and that’s why Polanski left the US - never to return, and he’s been on the run ever since.
 

Admittedly what the judge did was outrageous, after all a deal is a deal, but on the other hand, 42 days jail plus probation is definitely not an adequate sentence for the raping and drugging of a minor. 

Edited by pacovl46
Typo
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What is so difficult about separating separate issues?

He can be a genius as a director and at the same time a criminal. One has little to do with the other.

He did not get a price for the nicest person in the world. He got a price as best director.

Case closed

 

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The award for best achievement he has just won is a talent victory  against vox populi.


Kudos to the Cezars for resisting fashionable pressures, and let the justice system fulfill its role regarding the nature of his private relationships

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4 hours ago, pacovl46 said:

In a nutshell, he was indicted on 6 charges including rape. During his arraignment he pled not guilty. His lawyer arranged a plea deal, which would have dropped 5 of the charges apart from unlawful intercourse with a minor. Due to this deal he pled guilty to the unlawful sex with a minor charge. Due to him having pled guilty he was ordered to undergo 90 days of psychiatric evaluation of which he served 42 days and he was then released. Upon his release he agreed to a plea bargain which would have had been time served (42 days) plus probation, but then he learned that the judge was to disregard the plea bargain and sentence him to 50 years in prison. The judge reportedly told a friend of Polanski’s that he will see to it that he’ll never leave prison again. Following that, Polanski’s lawyer met with the judge and confirmed afterwards that the judge had changed his mind and that’s why Polanski left the US - never to return, and he’s been on the run ever since.
 

Admittedly what the judge did was outrageous, after all a deal is a deal, but on the other hand, 42 days jail plus probation is definitely not an adequate sentence for the raping and drugging of a minor. 

Adequate or not, deal = deal and that the chief prosecutor after that shows some party pictures (How innocent I do not know ) what swings the Judge is out of order. 
hence mistrial or dismissal of case would be appropriate.

please note  “ raping and drugging” was not sentenced on in court as far as I understand, hence guilt not proven. ??

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6 hours ago, KKr said:

Adequate or not, deal = deal and that the chief prosecutor after that shows some party pictures (How innocent I do not know ) what swings the Judge is out of order. 
hence mistrial or dismissal of case would be appropriate.

please note  “ raping and drugging” was not sentenced on in court as far as I understand, hence guilt not proven. ??

He was definitely guilty of all the 6 charges and if he hadn’t fled the country he would’ve gone down for it big time. 

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Chinatown and Rosemary's Baby are two of the best films ever made.  

 

 

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15 hours ago, OneMoreFarang said:

What is so difficult about separating separate issues?

He can be a genius as a director and at the same time a criminal. One has little to do with the other.

He did not get a price for the nicest person in the world. He got a price as best director.

Case closed

 

 

Your moral compass is non existent!

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4 minutes ago, Baerboxer said:

Your moral compass is non existent!

 

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