Amid much protesting, the veteran director Roman Polanski has withdrawn from the Locarno Film Festival. He was to not only present his new film Venus In Fur alongside his actress wife Emmanuelle Seigner, but was also due to accept a special lifetime achievement at the Swiss event. However, there were complaints from some about his presence. These complaints were due to him still being wanted in the US on a 40-year-old statutory rape charge. He can move freely between France, Switzerland and his native Poland, who have agreed not to extradite him. He said:
“Dear Friends, I am sorry to inform you that having considered the extent to which my planned appearance at the Locarno Festival provokes tensions and controversies among those opposed to my visit, even as I respect their opinions, it is with a heavy heart that I must cancel my visit. I am deeply saddened to disappoint you. Roman Polanski.”
The festival organisers called the opposition to the 80-year-old director’s visit:
“Unacceptable interference of some in the artistic liberty of the festival. We are greatly saddened that the public will thereby be deprived of an important opportunity for cultural enrichment.”
I’m kind of on Polanski’s side with all this, but I could feel that way just because I like his films. It’s a difficult one….