Roman Polanski’s 80th birthday is actually Sunday, August 18, but the celebrations begin today in Los Angeles with Dread and Desire: Roman Polanski at 80, a weekend of screenings at the Egyptian Theatre. “Polanski is also the subject of James Greenberg‘s Roman Polanski: A Retrospective, which is both a lavish coffee table book that includes a plethora of archival personal photographs and stills from his films and a serious exploration of his career,” writes Susan King for the Times. “Greenberg, who first met Polanski on the set of the director’s 1992 film, Bitter Moon, also interviewed the director extensively for the book.” And King, in turn, interviews Greenberg.
It seems that every few months we’re dealt another occasion to look back on the life (summarized so succinctly by Leo Robson in the Guardian last December with just three prompts: “the Kraków ghetto, Manson, statutory rape”) and work. During the first two months of this year, the BFI staged a major retrospective that spawned dozens of think pieces and reviews (the best of which are collected here), and then, of course, in May, Venus in Fur premiered in Cannes. Cannes 2012 saw the premiere of Laurent Bouzereau’s Roman Polanski: A Film Memoir. Here in Keyframe, Phil Coldiron reviewed the previous year’s Carnage; overall, two years after having been placed under house arrest by the Swiss (he managed to complete The Ghost Writer regardless), 2011 saw a revival of the great rape debates, and Laura Albert chimed in here as well.
Click those titles for roundups; herewith, a few more links: Catherine Grant’s collection on Knife in the Water (1962). Repulsion (1965) at Criterion. Cul-de-sac (1966). Rosemary’s Baby (1968) at Criterion. Chinatown (1974) was named best film of all time by the Guardian in 2010, the same year that a restoration of Tess (1980) toured Europe and the States. In 2011, This Recording conducted its own survey of Polanski’s films, including Frantic (1988). The Pianist (2002), Polanski’s most-awarded film, at Kinoeye.
an episode of the BBC’s “Scene by Scene” on Polanski hosted by Mark Cousins