Apart from a confusingly large handful of major Hollywood actors (and writers and producers), the world has pretty much washed its hands of the blight on humanity that is Roman Polanski. So when festivals and awards shows continue to shower him with accolades, you have to think they’re either completely oblivious, or just downright horrible.
Polanski was set to be honored at the Locarno Film Festival later this week with a screening of his new film, Venus in Fur, a lifetime achievement award, and the invitation to lead a master class with the festival’s Summer Academy. However, the Swiss media and a bunch of public figures and politicians less than keen on celebrating a man who had sex with a 13 year old and then permanently peaced out to France rather than face his sentence. Polanski’s feelings were super hurt by all the negative reactions, and he issued this statement to the festival.
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.
But even more than Polanski himself, the person who seemed to be hit hardest by his own lack of human awareness was the festival’s director, Carlo Chatrian, who said, “After several rainy days, today the sun shines in Locarno, but for me it is the darkest day since I have been asked to be the director of this Festival.” Cue the tiny violins.
The decision of Roman Polanski to decline my invitation saddens me deeply.
Today I am sad because the participants of the Festival del film Locarno will be deprived of meeting an extraordinary artist, who embraced our proposal of giving a unique Cinema masterclass.
I am sad because the audience of the Piazza Grande won’t be able to salute a Master of Cinema. I am sad because the idea of the Festival as a meeting and debating place today receives a big blow.