Those of whom I came to think as “their side” constantly commit one elegant sleight-of-hand. They say we argue that the case is old, or Polanski is old, or he is a genius and thus should be above the law, or that he had a hard life.
I hope my readers have already noticed that our arguments are quite different. Everything I am going to say below, however true, makes sense only in addition to what I already said, so please keep it in mind – I am not arguing ad hominem, but those arguments add some finishing touches to the ones I’ve already provided.
In the previous section we saw a pretty bunch of lies; Polanski, on the contrary, has never stooped to lies, accusations, or any dirty game. All his accounts are clear, consistent, and extremely plausible, from every point of view; they also perfectly jibe with whatever evidence, or lack thereof, we’ve already seen. He photographed a young lady, he liked her, she didn’t show any inhibitions, she said she wasn’t a virgin, she chose champagne, she took a bit of Quaalude, she was consenting; “she wasn’t unresponsive”. In the car on the way back, they talked about her guitar lessons, the Midsummer Night’s Dream she studied at school, and the Rocky movie they agreed to go watch together some time next week. That’s why he was so shocked when he was arrested on the next day – he had no idea what he could be guilty of. (“In all my many premonitions of disaster, one thought had never crossed my mind: that I should be sent to prison, my life and career ruined, for making love,” he writes.)
Now, they come to the house and here’s what mother and sister say in their Grand Jury testimonies. He shows them the pictures, then, as we may remember from Chapter 1, “all of a sudden there was a shot of Samantha bare to the waist with just her jeans on. And Kim stepped back. And I kind of stepped back. And the dog peed on the floor and Kim went for the dog and threw her out.” Then they saw the rest of the pictures, and then –
Sister: Roman gave me a big speech on how to take care of dogs.
Mother: He made a phone call, and then he gave Kim a lecture about how she shouldn’t have disciplined the dog like that. And then he left.
Imagine this picture? You’ve just “drugged and raped a child”, who is right in the next room, - and you address her next of kin with a “big speech” on dogs. Just try to visualize it for a sec, him standing there giving her “a lecture”.
Next day he is arrested and here’s how Jim Grodin, assistant district attorney, describes it:
We were walking in, and he was walking out with a group of people, obviously going out for the evening. And we stopped, 'cause he would have walked right on by us. So we said, "Mr. Polanski, LAPD. We have to talk."
And he came out, and he says, "Is this gonna be more than a few minutes? If it is, I'll let my people go." [laughs]
We said, "Yes, it's going to be more than a few minutes."
See? In both situations he displays the behavior of an innocent man; and there’s more instances of same. "I am not guilty,” he said, “so why should I act guilty?" He didn’t think consensual sex with a mature young lady was a crime, but he sure did know child rape was? Precisely. Now, there are only two possibilities: either his version of the story is the plain truth – which would perfectly fit in with everything we’ve already know – or he is a dangerous, cynical psychopath.
Oh, but you know what? He isn’t.
And everybody knows that. The psychiatrists who expressed nothing but sympathy towards him in all their papers. The probation department officers who, too, are unmistakably sympathetic as a result of their findings and personal contact with both the “victim” and the “criminal”. Even Judge Lawrence-goddam-Rittenband who allows Polanski to travel around the globe during those “stays”. I won’t dwell on the obvious – that, were he a “dangerous, cynical psychopath” it would prevent him from successfully working with people all his life, or being admired by everyone who knows him, or having a happy loving family for 22 years by now, or such a lot of real true friends.
On a more personal note, I strongly suggest that you read – or, better, watch – his interviews and whatever documentary footage there is (A Story of Survival, about how The Pianist was made, is especially recommended, but anything would do) and see for yourself what kind of man he impresses you as. I also recommend reading/watching/listening to what people who knew him personally say about him, and what admiration they express, not only for his work, but first and foremost for him as a person. Or study any other materials, which still are around, although much more difficult to unearth than the bloodthirsty invectives of lynch mobs (of which we’ll speak in the last chapter). For nearly a year by now I have done virtually nothing but studying everything Polanski-related, and my findings are astounding.
Everywhere, in everyone’s account, in every material, he comes across as an extraordinary man. Everyone who knows him personally have found him charismatic, fascinating and worthy of highest admiration not only as an artist, but as a human being: noble, magnanimous, generous in every respect. Actually, when I began my research, it was hard for me to believe all this: I expected some dark side, you know, the one people who do not have the privilege of knowing him closely constantly drag in; maybe some psychopathy, what with such background and trials of life! Fat chance. Everybody consistently says he is perfectly sane, very optimistic, with a fantastic sense of humor. “He had a tremendous power over people,” Mia Farrow says, to quote just one. “You had to fall in love with him.” No, not a monster. Not a psycho. By no means.
And really wonders never cease. Now that badmouthing Polanski is universally considered commendable, one would expect a lot of people with grudges to crawl from under all stones, and all his sins, real or imaginary, to come to light! After all, he’s been around for 77 years by now, so if he ever did something bad to anyone, isn’t now the right time to settle all scores? To do “justice” a favor and expose Polanski as a villain?
But it doesn’t happen. The worst anyone, ever, came up with was that at work he shouts at actors, and is not averse to some foul language. A crime indeed. He isn’t even in the least aggressive– when in August of the same infamous
1977 a reporter caught him kneeling by Sharon’s grave, and started making snapshots, Polanski “assaulted” him - “grand theft” they wanted to make out of it, and failed, because the “assault” consisted in taking the camera from the reporter and bringing it to the cemetery office for the film to be removed. Anyone, especially being under a similar emotional stress (right in the middle of false accusations) would have smashed the camera, preferably on the reporter’s head. No wonder his friends recount their reaction to the accusation of “rape” as deep shock, repeating things like “it made no sense”, and “this is somebody who could not be a rapist”. Well, one might say, they are his friends – but yes, he does have true friends, which alone speaks a lot of a person, and all the people who know him are unanimous in referring to his personality only in terms of highest praise.
The Sydney Morning Herald writes, in all seriousness, “It is one of the enduring mysteries of our time that a man so profoundly and seriously flawed can make a film as good and morally rich as his latest, The Ghost Writer.” Precisely, you silly. The solution to your mystery is very simple: no, a “profoundly and seriously flawed” man can’t make such movies; there’s only one logical step left to make. All his movies are, in addition to be “morally rich”, achingly personal, you can’t hide in this kind of cinema, everything you do reveals your soul. And the soul they reveal is truly great.
I won’t even bother reminding you that he never, ever committed anything that had even a nodding acquaintance with “crime” of any kind. Sure a “child rapist” would necessarily reveal his true nature, instead of being a consistently worthy man, in every respect, all throughout his life? Or will we follow in The Sydney Morning Herald author’s footsteps and puzzle over this “enduring mystery of our time”? Spare me the bullshit.
We have already seen how much slander Ms.Geimer produces under slightest pretext. In contrast, Polanski never said anything bad about her. His account is remarkably consistent, contains no contradictions and impresses me as thoroughly truthful. He never tried to fight back, while I suspect for many the temptation to say something like “the little whore threw herself on me” would be irresistible. No. He is always correct, and keeps within the limits of both decency, facts, and law, which isn’t what all other participants of this story do. He doesn’t even call her by name, not even now that this name is so widely known. His account of the case can be found in his memoirs, Roman by Polanski, and it doesn’t contain a word that would cause any doubt or be in contradiction with any facts, documents, or logic.
Media and public love to use three of his statements against him. They are angry with him when he mentions that she was almost 14, but he only keeps to the facts: two weeks short of 14 is not the same as two weeks past one’s 13th birthday, every month matters at that age; as we mentioned in Chapter 2, Spain is the only European country where the age of consent is 13, while 14 gives us a long list of states. Moreover, doesn’t it cross people’s mind that he is actually protecting her? It’s exactly what she does herself. She emphasizes, in numerous interviews, that she was “almost
14”, whenever her interviewer shows surprise at the fact that she was not a virgin at that time.
GEIMER: I called my then -- who is now my ex-boyfriend, and...
KING: How old was he?
GEIMER: He was 17, and I was almost 14.
Second, when asked if he regrets what happened on this day, he said no, he only regretted what happened afterwards. But if nothing besides consensual sex actually happened, what should he regret? Any display of regret would denigrate the female participant, and it is something a man just can’t do.
The third is the notorious “everyone wants to fuck young girls”; I will give the full quotation to avoid accusation of holding something back.
I realize, if I had killed somebody, it wouldn't have had so much appeal to the press, you see? But… fucking, you see, and the young girls. Judges want to fuck young girls. Juries want to fuck young girls – everyone wants to fuck young girls! No, I knew then, this is going to be another big, big thing."
Wording aside (oh, “fucking”, how rude! Let’s stone him for this now, shall we?), I don’t know what serious objections can be made. Well, “everybody” is a blanket statement, and as such should be avoided by a scientific mind; but in the context it clearly refers to the recent (the interview was given to Martin Amis in 1979) “judges” and “juries”, about whom the joke circulated that “[Gunson] was the only member of the DA's office who hadn't had sex with an underage girl” (Brenneman, quoted from W&D). Basically what he said is correct: men like young girls and want to have sex with them. Interesting (disgusting may be a better word) how this statement is falsified, with “little girls” substituted for “young girls” - see for example Michael Deacon of The Telegraph who makes the title of his article “Roman Polanski: 'Everyone else fancies little girls too” although Polanski never said a word about “little girls”, nor had or intended to have sex with one. But, as we’ve already seen, if they do not recur to lies and falsifications, they won’t have anything at all.
Other than an occasional rude word such as “fuck” (oh horror!), it is curious to see how carefully he usually words his speech, not to inadvertently hurt or accuse anyone, not even by a slip of tongue. In his 1984 Clive James interview (a remarkably honest thing, with a lot of truths a lesser man would feel uncomfortable to admit) when asked if ladies really love him so much as it is rumored, he says, maybe not so much, but “enough for me to get into trouble”. Most people would say “enough to get me into trouble”, not bothering with finding a more accurate construction, especially not in a foreign language.
But the question of ladies now brings up another interesting aspect.
You may or may not know this, but during all his unmarried life Polanski enjoyed tremendous, legendary success with the beautiful sex. My American readers may be surprised because in their media he is invariably depicted as an ugly dwarf; but however small (though
But… what with Samantha? I step aside for a moment and give the floor to one of the commentors of Novalis Lore’s blog:
The other day I read about someone wondering, why in all the world Polanski had to seek out this particular girl with a ploy of advancing her career, (and in fact was one of those repeating this idiot ‘party’ and hot tub crap) drugging, and then orally, vaginally and anally raping her when he could have had anyone – and I went, you’re full of shit, mate – THAT’S EXACTLY THE POINT, IDIOT! He did NOT ‘have’ to do this because he HAD enough girls at hand, and you have fuck all facts to know better! Sometimes I think these people love to repeat these dirty words because they’re all secret perverts! Ghostwriter, quoted from He Said She Said They Said, Comments part I
The commentor hits the nail on the head, and I couldn’t have done it more eloquently. No, Polanski wouldn’t have bothered “drugging and raping” her, not when he was graced with the gift of attracting the favors of the most beautiful women of the world. Not only because girls like her are a dime a dozen, but for a simple reason that successful, confirmed Don Juans never rape. They are different kind of people than rapists, with a different psychological profile. Seduction, yes; persuasion, sure (remember Samantha’s “he was persuasive”?). Rape, never. Among other reasons, their specific pride doesn’t let them take by force what should be given willingly, that’s why they are usually described as extremely talkative: exactly like Polanski. No wonder she makes it a point never to quote him - may have been too “persuasive” for her to retain that image of a girl who said “no”.
But if, contrary to all logic and evidence, she had said “no” – what’s about her to suddenly make him behave like he never had done, or has done since, to change all his psychology, behavior, ways and habits, to turn, werewolf-fashion, into a quite different man for that single instant – a “creepy”, which nobody ever called him except her, and miraculously silent assaulter? It just doesn’t happen this way, barring a miracle; but why should we allow for miracles instead of firmly standing on the ground of common sense? Plus, Polanski is known as a man of superb intelligence; if you ever heard him talk, or seen any of his films, does he strike you as a hopeless idiot who would jeopardize his whole life by “raping a child”? I think the answer is obvious. He would have left her alone; not that it would have changed much. As we saw, a total absence of evidence didn’t disturb anybody in any way, so whether or not there was any actual intercourse was immaterial under the circumstances.
So, what do we have? A man who never committed any offence, sexual or of any other kind, either before or after, who is admired by everyone who know him, who never stooped to any kind of foul play, has always remained honest, has been loved by women, and has consistently displayed the behavior of an innocent man.