Aneesh Chaganty

Movie #141 Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired

In Uncategorized on February 18, 2011 at 1:39 AM


Movie #141 Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired

(2008, US, d. Marina Zenovich)

Arguably my greatest inspiration in filmmaking, Roman Polanski has always fascinated me – not only as a storyteller but as a person as well. This HBO documentary deals primarily with the events surrounding his trial following his being charged for “unlawful sex with a minor”. The minor, of course, was 13 years old and the other dropped charges included rape, giving drugs and alcohol to a minor, and sodomy. Naturally, this is what he is most remembered for. He’s made more great movies than most filmmakers, has won more awards, has contributed more to cinema and theory in general, but his biggest curse is that he will always be remembered for this incident. As a source for facts, Wanted and Desired is a very strong film with equally strong characters. It informs the audience of the biases and inconsistencies of the trial, while still allowing them to form their own opinion of Polanski. However, as a stand-alone documentary, I don’t think it had as unique of a voice or grasp of a style. Oftentimes I found myself reading information on the screen in place of watching or hearing it. This is a fault in the modern documentary. And though it is the first documentary to capture interviews with all the law enforcement and judicial enforcers involved, it was missing one ingredient: Polanski. And though I’m sure he would never have agreed to be in this film, it seemed as if no attempt were made. And though I find myself wondering whether this whole incident is a one-way street or an amalgamation of two varying sources, I can’t help but feel the desire to see more of Polanski outside of this event. This film, therefore, falls into the same trap everybody my age does: it treats this event as the only event in his life – almost in a tabloid-y manner as well. So in conclusion, while this film satisfied a personal desire to know more about the man, I don’t think it stands too strongly as a documentary, though it is highly and objectively intriguing.

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