It is hard to believe that it has been over 30 years since controversial filmmaker Roman Polanski fled the US after his arrest for a sex and drugs scandal involving 13-year old Samantha Gailey. His 1977 flight from justice has exiled the man from the United States ever since. A great debate has raged for years over Polanski’s guilt or innocence. Veteran documakers Marina Zenovich brings the details of the year-long dispute that ended in Roman’s escape to our attention with the intriguing documentary, “Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired.”
This is both a film for documentary fans and for the film industry buffs who want to get the definitive word on why Polanski flew the coop so many years ago. Zenovich delivers an in depth look beneath the scandal into the jaded workings of presiding judge Lawrence J. Rittenband, the man some think responsible for forcing Polanski to flee the country. The documaker gathered up copious archival footage from the media frenzy, at the time, for things Polanski, showing, also, the bottom dwelling ways of the paparazzi. Modern day interviews with the attorneys, friends and, especially, with Samantha Gailey are nicely edited with the archival footage. Polanski remains taciturn and is only seen and heard via the archive material.
“Wanted and Desired” simply lays out the information, pro and con, about the scandal, the charges, trial and escape and lets you decide whether Roman Polanski was treated fairly, or not. This well-constructed, thought-provoking work that, like the many excellent docs released in 2008, deserves viewing. I give it a B.
Laura gives "Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired" an B+.
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