May 6, 2010

A postcard from France

By Mirino
Maybe the idea of  'A postcard from France', will encourage a flagging contributor to send the odd one, based on selected news items from the French press, to Wind Rose Hotel more regularly. Hopefully it will also incite readers to make constructive comments.
To begin with, and as the Polanski case was alluded to here before, it might be  appropriate to refer to a recent article on him from Le Figaro.
Polanski had just published a text confided to 'La Règle du Jeu', a site directed by Bernard-Henri Levy, stating that he can no longer remain silent. He considers that he is the victim of lies. According to him, the threat of extradition and legal proceedings in the USA for what he had done so long ago, are based on trumped up charges.
The Franco-Polish actor, writer and film producer maintains that his sentence of 42 days in a Californian prison in 1977 per 'having had sexual relations that year with a 13 year old adolescent', correspond with the sentence for which he was condemned and which he had thus already endured.

"I am accused of having avoided US justice, but in the 'pleading guilty' procedure I had recognised the facts and had returned to the USA to purge my sentence".

Roman Polanski (76) was arrested the 26th September last year in Switzerland and has been assigned to residence since the 4th December.
"I can no longer remain silent when the victim has been dismissed by the Court of California after having asked several times to stop the proceedings of my case", he also underlines.

"I can no longer remain silent because the United States continue to demand my extradition, more to deliver me as fodder to the media of the entire world than to pronounce a judgement on which an agreement was made 33 years ago".

My own view is that justice can hardly prevail if it chooses to turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to the actual victim of the crime and her repeated demands. I also have the impression that Polanski has never been overly appreciated in the USA, and suspect that the atrocious Manson killings may also have something to do with it. (If one remembers, whilst Polanski was working in Europe, his then pregnant wife, the actress Sharon Tate, was brutally stabbed to death in the Polanski residence in California with several other, horribly murdered victims. This was in August 1969, and carried out by members of the Manson gang. Manson (74) is still alive, seemingly without any regrets, and is even a 'cultural' source of influence in America).
Whilst there doesn't appear to be any rabid witch hunts going on in the States for real pedophiles, especially the ecclesiastic kind, Polanski, on the other hand, seems to incite a great deal of suspicion and hate, and this perhaps even more so in the State of California.



  1. Mirino, in my view, one thing is the bad Polansky actually did, and another, very different, is (so to speak) his “judicial situation,” in which much may depend on whether or not he has a lot of money, a good attorney, and things like these…

    This being said, I respect your point of view (your “understanding” attitude—if I understand it well—towards the Polansky case). The essence of Polanski’s claim is that he was led to believe that his time in a state facility in Chino would constitute his full sentence, and has been frustrated for the past three decades as US authorities have maintained otherwise. That’s why, in Polansky’s own words, “the request for my extradition addressed to the Swiss authorities is founded on a lie.”

    Now, what to say? I think it’s a legal problem, in the technical sense of the word, and it’s up to prosecutors and courts to decide… Polansky, in turn, can count on his dream team (I suppose) of attorneys.

    A warm welcome to this new blog column!

  2. @Rob
    I agree with you in principle, but find such a legal process very hard to accept as legitimate rather than unnecessarily vindictive.
    As already mentioned, surely the 'victim' also has a legal right, not to press charges if this is her free, uninfluenced choice and decision. Any other judgement under such circumstances would seem out of context, which gives one the impression that the Californian Court of law are gunning for Polanski for 'personal' if not vindictive reasons, which if true wouldn't do any credit to the US system of justice.
    If I'm misinformed regarding this, perhaps someone would persuade me how wrong I am.

    Thank you for welcoming the postcard!

  3. A link to the point of view of the victim, Samantha Geimer (Reuters. June 4, 2008):