Roman Polanski c Georges Biard

Source: Georges Biard

Roman Polanski

Filmmaker Roman Polanski has told an Italian newspaper he intends to talk publicly about a fresh accusation of rape against him which emerged on the eve of the French release of his new film An Officer And A Spy.

Photographer Valentine Monnier alleged in French newspaper Le Parisien on November 8 that Polanski raped her in a ski chalet in Gstaad in 1975. Polanski has denied the allegation via his lawyer who said they will be taking legal action against Le Parisien.

In one of the first interviews with Polanski since the accusation broke, respected Italian film critic Paolo Mereghetti at Corriere della Sera attempted to get a response from the director on the allegations.

Referring to the fact Polanski had denied Monnier’s allegation via his lawyer, Mereghetti asked: “Don’t you feel a duty to re-establish the truth about these facts even before the public?

Polanski replied: “I intend to but not with you.” 

Mereghetti continued: “Those accusations will never end up in a courtroom and therefore no sentence will ever establish the truth. The only person who can respond and explain the facts is you, don’t you want to?”

Polanski responded: “With every one of my films something similar happens. Every time there is someone who criticises me about something. Up until now I haven’t talked but I am the only person who can talk about it and I will do it soon.”

European release continues

Italian distributor 01 Distribution is gearing up for the Italian release of An Officer And A Spy on November 21.

The promotional campaign for the French release on November 13 by Gaumont ground to a halt following Monnier’s accusations. The scandal has not dented the film’s box office performance. It came out top of the weekend box office, drawing 386 720 admissions on 545 screens, equivalent to $2.8m, according to French box office specialist CBO Box Office.

In the backdrop, the public debate around the accusations continues in France. 

French authors, directors and producers’ guild l’ARP put out a fresh statement on Monday about its move to put forward a new regulation to combat acts of sexual misconduct within its ranks at its next board meeting, which was announced last week.  

Under the proposed measures, any member convicted in a court of law of a crime of a sexual nature would be automatically excluded from the organisation, while any member under investigation on charges of sexual misconduct would be suspended until the case was decided.

In Monday’s statement, the body highlighted the fact that this new measure, if voted, would apply to Polanski.

“This change of statute will be proposed to members and definitively voted at the next general assembly. This suspension will concern Roman Polanski, against whom a judicial investigation is open in the US,” the body said.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences expelled Polanski in 2018.

*As France reports box office in admissions, Screen has reached the dollar gross by multiplying the number of admissions by the 2019 average ticket price, according to the CNC, of €6.64.

Gabriele Niola contributed to this report