Controversial French filmmaker, Oscar winner Roman Polanski, may be the real lightning rod at Cannes this year. Today a filmed interview with him called “Roman Polanski: A Memoir,” was shown to a packed house. Polanski’s old friend Andrew Braaunsberg conducted the interview with the director at his Swiss estate during his house arrest in 2010. This is not Marina Zenovich’s “Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired,” which revealed a lot about Polanski’s original legal situaton. The new film barely addresses much of that.
The new film is more of a conversation between Polanski and Braunsberg and Polanski about the director’s horrifying experiences a a child in the Holocaust, and the way he recreated them for “The Pianist.” In that respect it’s a fascinating interview. Braunsberg and director Laurent Bozeau make Polasnki, who is rarely seen by his fans or detractors, a very human side. He’s certainly no monster but a complicated man wih a painful past.
Press shy, Polanski comes to Cannes on Monday for a tribute and a screening of one of his great films, “Tess.” He may also attend a small filmmakers dinner. But his presence here will be felt, without a doubt. And when a deal is made for the interview film to be shown in America, it will cause a sensation.