Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Reviewed: the Hollywood petition, and Thank You, Luc Besson

I'm a little behind on news, mostly because I hardly ever watch or read it. It started because of Dr. Weil who advises cutting out local news for the ridiculous amount of stress and fear it causes. Then, during the year and a half of writing my novel, I found that day after day spent struggling in front of a computer screen was frustrating enough, might as well cut out the everyday depression of what is going on in the rest of the world. (I'm not proud of this decision.) Part of it, too, is being a former activist and remembering how passionate certain issues made me, and also, how futile everything felt.

So, anyway! Today I read about the Hollywood petition to free Roman Polanski.

And Christ, so many people have signed it. And I'm sad about that. Wes Anderson, Pedro Almodovar, Tilda Swinton, Scorcese, Woody Allen, Milan Kundera. As if being an artist means you can't be a rapist.

If you're cringing at that word, you should also cringe at all the rest of the details; a 13 year-old, pumped full of qualudes, sodomy, etc. It seems the courts back then might have bungled the case, abused the system. Supposedly the judge had it out for Polanski. I'm told the HBO documentary explains all this. I didn't see it. Polanski served a handful of days in psychiatric evaluation, and expected to get probation and time served, but fled when he heard the judge was ready to put him away for a long time.

The argument seems to be that he's paid his dues, that it was so long ago, that the 13 year-old today wishes for his release, that she has forgiven him, that she wants to put it behind her. The man is such an important artist, they exclaim in disbelief.

I know artists who are also assholes. I started out believing, in both cases, that they were amazing, could do no wrong. But like all people, the closer you get, you see the whole picture. Some peoples' flaws are bigger, badder. You have to pay attention to them, even if they can also do beautiful things.

French director Luc Besson did not sign the petition, though he is reportedly a close friend of Polanski: "This is a man who I love a lot and know a little bit,” Mr. Besson said in a radio interview with RTL Soir. “Our daughters are good friends. But there is one justice, and that should be the same for everyone. I will let justice happen.” He added, “I don’t have any opinion on this, but I have a daughter, 13 years old. And if she was violated, nothing would be the same, even 30 years later.”

The man behind the petition, some philosopher guy named Bernard-Henri Levy, says Polanski "perhaps had committed a youthful error." (Polanski was 44 at the time of the rape.)

What makes you sign a petition asking a rapist to go free? Hm, Wes Anderson? Because all I know is that now, unfortunately, I'm not so admiring. It's the little things as well as big ones, you see, that matter.

1 comment:

Susan said...

I would argue that artists are actually predominantly assholes, at least from my personal experience. You are the writer-exception that proves the rule to me.