What Am I Missing?
So Roman Polanski gave a 13 year old girl drugs and alcohol, raped her, admitted to it, and ran to France where he wouldn’t be extradited. 30+ years later, he gets a lifetime achievement award in Switzerland. When he shows up, they arrest him. That much is fact.
What I do not understand is this petition demanding Polanski’s release. Signed by Woody Allen, Pedro Almodovar, Ethan Coen, Martin Scorsese, and 100 other celebrities, the petition essentially states that Switzerland is neutral, film festivals are nice, and therefore Polanski shouldn’t have been arrested at a Swiss film festival. Seriously.
Filmmakers in France, in Europe, in the United States and around the world are dismayed by this decision. It seems inadmissible to them that an international cultural event, paying homage to one of the greatest contemporary filmmakers, is used by the police to apprehend him.
By their extraterritorial nature, film festivals the world over have always permitted works to be shown and for filmmakers to present them freely and safely, even when certain States opposed this.
The arrest of Roman Polanski in a neutral country, where he assumed he could travel without hindrance, undermines this tradition: it opens the way for actions of which no-one can know the effects.
What the hell does a film festival have to do with it? The guy raped a teenage girl. His mistaken assumption that he would be able to continue avoiding justice in Switzerland really shouldn’t come into the equation. It’s laughable as an excuse.
Imagine if you committed rape in your home, and the police obtained and executed a warrant. You could insist that you should not be arrested in your home, but no one would give a shit. Why? Because you raped someone. Not only is the “film festival defense” laughably irrelevant, the signatories should be ashamed to “demand the immediate release” of an admitted rapist.
There may be all kinds of defenses for Polanski to present, but he should be forced to present them to a court, rather than living out the remainder of his days leading a princely life in flagrant defiance of the law.