Roman Polanski's Life and Films

Legendary film director Roman Polanski is making news headlines, and once again it has nothing to do with any of his films. Or does it? Polanski is one of those filmmakers whose personal life is so interesting that you just have to wonder how it all relates to his films. With a film like The Pianist, the link between Polanski’s personal life and screen is clear since it’s well known that Polanski is a Holocaust survivor. With other films, it’s less obvious. The library collection includes several of Polanski’s best films, including my personal favorite, Death and the Maiden. Here are some others: Knife in the Water, Macbeth, Rosemary’s Baby, and Chinatown.


Polanski always brings us back to that big question, "should we feel guilty appreciating the art of someone who is morally reprehensible" (if there is truth to the stories). Leni Riefenstahl produced some beautiful films. Unfortunately, they were propaganda pieces for Hitler and the Nazi movement and went a long way to lie to the public. Sticky area.

I agree on Death and the Maiden. Wonderful film!

You're right, Toochie. It can be a sticky area. Another filmmaker on that list is Elia Kazan. He directed some of the best films ever made, but he also cooperated with the House Un-American Activities Committee. One of the most memorable Oscar moments for me was when he went up to pick up his Honorary Oscar only to be booed by many in the audience.