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October 01, 2009: "From 'Wanted and Desired' to 'Reviled..." 
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Post October 01, 2009: "From 'Wanted and Desired' to 'Reviled..."
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Thu Oct 01, 2009 11:19 pm
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Post Re: October 01, 2009: "From 'Wanted and Desired' to 'Reviled..."
I agree with your outrage. This is a sad case of history being held in very poor perspective; the details of his crime are disturbing, and it can be argued (although it will never be considered at this point) that the length of time from the event should serve as no respite. In fact, I wonder if the passing of years has been kind to the victim. In my opinion, signing that petition is the same act of hostility and arrogance towards her as would throwing a brick through her window with the word 'whore' on it.


Thu Oct 01, 2009 11:35 pm
Post Re: October 01, 2009: "From 'Wanted and Desired' to 'Reviled..."
I was unaware of such a petition until you wrote about it. I found it, read it and just couldn't believe it. The really sad thing is that Michael Vick probably spent more time in jail/prison for dog fighting than Polanski will for drugging and raping a 13 year old. I mean, Michael Vick did some bad things with dogs, a bunch of animals. Polanski destroyed the childhood of a 13 year old, who then spent a lot of time probably having to relive the event over and over when the media went after her.

The worst part of the petition for me was this:

Quote:
It seems inadmissible to them that an international cultural event, paying homage to one of the greatest contemporary filmmakers, is used by the police to apprehend him.
By their extraterritorial nature, film festivals the world over have always permitted works to be shown and for filmmakers to present them freely and safely, even when certain States opposed this.
The arrest of Roman Polanski in a neutral country, where he assumed he could travel without hindrance, undermines this tradition: it opens the way for actions of which no-one [sic] can know the effects.


It seems to me that they're saying that film makers should be exempt from the laws that everyone else has to live with. It also sounds like that the signers don't think there's any difference between filmmakers making movies that certain heavy handed governments don't like and filmmakers being arrested for violent crimes, which in my opinion, makes them look even stupider.

I think the only reason to release Polanski and drop the charges is that the victim, Samantha Geimer, filed a formal request for the charges to be dropped in January of this year and has stated publicly that for the good of her family that she wants the matter to be finished as soon as possible. Of course, arresting him and sending him to LA to "face the music" might help finish up this matter quickly.


Fri Oct 02, 2009 12:12 am
Post Re: October 01, 2009: "From 'Wanted and Desired' to 'Reviled..."
This is in a strange way similar to what happened to R. Kelly last summer where he was acquitted of all the charges brought against him of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor despite a videotape of him fucking this girl. I honestly believe that he did what he was accused of doing but got of because of his status in society and his (probably) amazing lawyers. This is probably what'll happen here even though Polanski, in his case, did plead guilty. However, he'll probably still get off with a slap on the wrist (owing in no small part to this bullshit petition) and not do the time he deserves for committing a crime that would have gotten anyone else hard prison time and permanent ostracism from society. Ugh!!!! But, in a way, Geimer herself is enabling these cretins who are clamoring so hard for his release by pushing to have the charges dropped. I realize that she is the victim here and wants to protect her family but fact remains that the man committed a crime and has eluded facing the music for many years and now it's time for him to pay. That's my two-cents worth at least.


Fri Oct 02, 2009 12:25 am
Post Re: October 01, 2009: "From 'Wanted and Desired' to 'Reviled..."
I do have one question...why now?

Polanski has apparently traveled to Switzerland several times since he fled and each time the US tried to get him extradited. Why did the Swiss authorities suddenly have a change of heart? I'm not saying he shouldn't be arrested, I just think the circumstances are a bit curious.


Fri Oct 02, 2009 12:49 am
Post Re: October 01, 2009: "From 'Wanted and Desired' to 'Reviled..."
ed_metal_head wrote:
I do have one question...why now?

Polanski has apparently traveled to Switzerland several times since he fled and each time the US tried to get him extradited. Why did the Swiss authorities suddenly have a change of heart? I'm not saying he shouldn't be arrested, I just think the circumstances are a bit curious.


I heard someplace (yeah, I know, not the best of sources) that an extradition treaty was modified, ratified, something that made the Swiss act.

Let's not forget the other crime committed here also, he's fled justice for over 30 years. We can't let criminals flee to escape serving their sentence. You just don't get to thumb your nose at the law and your sentence.


Fri Oct 02, 2009 1:08 am
Post Re: October 01, 2009: "From 'Wanted and Desired' to 'Reviled..."
Thanks so much for this, James.

It's been discussed in a rather heated manner at a number of places, including the boards at Joblo.com, where a staggering number of people are defending him -- their argument is that "a lot" of 70s era stars, in particular rock stars, were sleeping with underage girls. This argument is absurd for a number of reasons (not least of which is the fact that Geimer was raped), and what most saddens me is that outside of the expected people who like to take a controversial opinion under the cover of the internet, there are some people who do believe this. I wouldn't feel any differently if it had been "consensual" -- because I don't think there's such a thing between a 30 year old and a 13 year old.

But seriously, thanks so much. It's refreshing to hear something that doesn't demonize or absolve Polanski. And I share your feelings about being so very disappointed in the -- artistic merits aside -- seemingly good people who have signed this joke of a petition. I've actually heard people claiming that it's "a case of morals" because in some countries what we would call statutory rape isn't frowned upon. To which my response is, those countries are wrong. I don't think American gets everything right, but in this case our laws make sense.

And again, she was raped -- both Geimer (the victim) and Polanski himself (on tape) have stated that it was not consensual. Sharon Tate's sister has said it wasn't -- and that's the argument some are using.

Ridiculous.


Fri Oct 02, 2009 1:42 am
Post Re: October 01, 2009: "From 'Wanted and Desired' to 'Reviled..."
I generally agree with this Reelviews, but it should be mentioned that the authorities' conduct in this case has been odd as well. Being a French citizen, the French can't extradite Polanski. However, Polanski apparently owns a chalet in Switzerland and has regularly stayed there. It must have been known to the U.S. authorities, that they could have had Polanski arrested in Switzerland a long time ago. Nevertheless, an international arrest warrant for Polanski has only been issued in 2005 (whereas the U.S. arrest warrant dates from 1978). In addition, according to Swiss law, a statute of limitation applies to Polanski's crime. It is highly unusual, that a state would extradite a person for a crime, which is prescribed in its own country (although the U.S.-Swiss extradition treaty allows for this). Btw: There have been extradition treaties between the U.S. and Switzerland since 1901, the latest dating from 1995.

This poses the question: Why now? Why not press for an arrest of Polanski earlier?


Fri Oct 02, 2009 3:27 am
Post Re: October 01, 2009: "From 'Wanted and Desired' to 'Reviled..."
Quote:
In addition, according to Swiss law, a statute of limitation applies to Polanski's crime. It is highly unusual, that a state would extradite a person for a crime, which is prescribed in its own country (although the U.S.-Swiss extradition treaty allows for this). Btw: There have been extradition treaties between the U.S. and Switzerland since 1901, the latest dating from 1995.


Well first of all, the crime occured in the US so that's where the statute matters.

As such, by running from the law, he is guilty of that crime, and according to American law, essentially "freezes" the statute.


Fri Oct 02, 2009 3:53 am
Post Re: October 01, 2009: "From 'Wanted and Desired' to 'Reviled..."
Shade wrote:
Quote:
In addition, according to Swiss law, a statute of limitation applies to Polanski's crime. It is highly unusual, that a state would extradite a person for a crime, which is prescribed in its own country (although the U.S.-Swiss extradition treaty allows for this).


Well first of all, the crime occured in the US so that's where the statute matters.

As such, by running from the law, he is guilty of that crime, and according to American law, essentially "freezes" the statute.


Sorry, that argument is wrong. The U.S.-Switzerland extradition treaty stipulates (Art. 2 para. 1): "An offense shall be an extraditable offense only if it is punishable under the laws of both contracting parties by deprivation of liberty for a period exceeding one year." Based on this provision alone, it could be argued that a criminal offense, which is prescribed by law in Switzerland, is no longer punishable under the laws of both contracting parties (i.e. the U.S. and Switzerland). The statute of limitations in the U.S. is only the decicive factor, because this can be deduced e contrario from Art. 5 (which prohibits extradition if the criminal offence is prescribed in the Requesting State). There are extraditon treaties which do not contain similar clauses. It is indeed widespread international practice, not to extradite persons, whose crime is already prescribed in the requested state (i.e. the extraditing state).

However, my point is, that the U.S. authorities have, for no apparent reason, waited a long time to have an international arrest warrant issued for Polanski.

This has nothing to do with celebrity support of Polanski. I find it highly irritating that some people seem to think that the case should be dropped because of his artistic achievements.

As for the case against Polanski itself, I don't know enough facts to form an opinion. That being said, I wonder if it is at all possible to have a fair trial in the light of all the publicity.


Fri Oct 02, 2009 6:13 am
Gaffer

Joined: Wed Jun 10, 2009 11:42 am
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Post Re: October 01, 2009: "From 'Wanted and Desired' to 'Reviled..."
As I understand it Roman Polanski and his lawyers filed a request to have the charges dropped. I believe that is when the US decided to apprehend them. I guess it was one thing to have him out there free, another for him to try and balk altogether at the charges.

I remember watching the Academy Awards I think it was, or one of the awards shows when he one of the Pianist, and of course he is not there because he is not allowed in the United States. The audience gave him a standing ovation, and it was obvious that many people in that audience believed it was wrong for him not to be there. It was a 13 year old girl, who was raped. I cannot believe the level of understanding and acceptance that the people in that room put on such an act. How anyone can find excuses for that act is ridiculous. I lost respect for a great number of the actors, directors, and producers, and so forth in that room on that day.


Fri Oct 02, 2009 8:46 am
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Post Re: October 01, 2009: "From 'Wanted and Desired' to 'Reviled..."
Unke wrote:
This poses the question: Why now? Why not press for an arrest of Polanski earlier?


While I agree this is curious, it's really a smokescreen. There's no doubt that the actions of the authorities, both in terms of not pursuing Polanski more aggressively in past years and in how the entire sentencing was handled, have problematic elements. But none of that diminishes the fact that Polanski committed a rape. To me, that's the bottom line. Ironically, by fighting extradition, he's drawing this thing out. Almost everyone agrees that if he appeared in a Los Angeles court, the charges would likely be dismissed.


Fri Oct 02, 2009 9:18 am
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Post Re: October 01, 2009: "From 'Wanted and Desired' to 'Reviled..."
Unke wrote:
As for the case against Polanski itself, I don't know enough facts to form an opinion. That being said, I wonder if it is at all possible to have a fair trial in the light of all the publicity.


I don't think there would be trial. It's a little murky here, but he pled guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor with understanding that all of the other charges would be dropped. He then fled the country when it became known that the judge planned to violate the plea bargain by sentencing him to another 48 days in jail (rather than time served, which was 42 days). So I think if he returned to the United States, all that remains is the sentencing. And that would likely end up being the "time served" of the original plea.

There is a complicating issue since jumping bail is also a crime, but I assume that charged would be reduced so that additional jail time would not be needed.

But this column was more about my anger at the petition than it is about Polanski. Obviously, however, it's not possible to discuss the petition without discussing the case.


Fri Oct 02, 2009 9:24 am
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Post Re: October 01, 2009: "From 'Wanted and Desired' to 'Reviled..."
James Berardinelli wrote:
But this column was more about my anger at the petition than it is about Polanski.


Of course. I forgot to mention that the French and Polish governments, who have originally voiced support for Polanski in a similar way to the artist's petition (the French government have changed their stance a little in light of heavy criticism), criticised the arrest in Switzerland, asking why Polanski was arrested on the way to an awards ceremony at Zurich film festival now, although he travels to Switzerland regularly. His lawyer claims that Polanski has spent three months this year in Switzerland already.

The signees of the petition should wonder: If Polanski had been a paedophile catholic priest, how would they react if the Pope would have signed a similar petition?


Fri Oct 02, 2009 9:53 am
Post Re: October 01, 2009: "From 'Wanted and Desired' to 'Reviled..."
Here's some information on why Polanski's celebrity friends are defeinding him:

http://www.eonline.com/uberblog/b146558 ... nski_.html

"A constellation of directors and stars have signed a petition demanding Polanski's release, calling the issue a mere "case of morals."

The petition also deemed the arrest uncool because it was in a "neutral country, where [Polanski] assumed he could travel without hindrance," and because it undermines some sort of free and open tradition among film festivals. And oh, the arrest was also bad because "it opens the way for actions of which no-one can know the effects.""


Fri Oct 02, 2009 1:55 pm
Director

Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2009 8:28 pm
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Post Re: October 01, 2009: "From 'Wanted and Desired' to 'Reviled..."
If they want to protest, fine. They'll just look like celebrities that doesn't give a damn about rapists. Shame on Hollywood. At least other celebs have taken a betetr stance.


Fri Oct 02, 2009 2:00 pm
Profile YIM
Post Re: October 01, 2009: "From 'Wanted and Desired' to 'Reviled..."
I think it's absolutely ridiculous to put him in prison, as he is obviously not a danger to society. To me that's what the petition is really all about. So I don't know why Berardinelli is going off at this. Sure, rapists should be stopped, but I don't think anyone disputes that. Straw men don't make for very rational discussions.

Although Americans do seem to be extremely hostile to each other (having the greatest ratio of their own people in jail and whatnot), so it's not entirely surprising that they have a very bleak view of humanity in general.


Fri Oct 02, 2009 2:57 pm
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Post Re: October 01, 2009: "From 'Wanted and Desired' to 'Reviled..."
Francois Tremblay wrote:
I think it's absolutely ridiculous to put him in prison, as he is obviously not a danger to society. To me that's what the petition is really all about. So I don't know why Berardinelli is going off at this. Sure, rapists should be stopped, but I don't think anyone disputes that. Straw men don't make for very rational discussions.

Although Americans do seem to be extremely hostile to each other (having the greatest ratio of their own people in jail and whatnot), so it's not entirely surprising that they have a very bleak view of humanity in general.


I'm in American and I have a huge belief in humanity. He didn't serve time in prison and the celebrities are protesting that he should be a free man when he ran in the first place. I'm soory, but criminals who run away aren't high in my books.


Fri Oct 02, 2009 3:14 pm
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Post Re: October 01, 2009: "From 'Wanted and Desired' to 'Reviled..."
corpen11 wrote:
Francois Tremblay wrote:
I think it's absolutely ridiculous to put him in prison, as he is obviously not a danger to society. To me that's what the petition is really all about. So I don't know why Berardinelli is going off at this. Sure, rapists should be stopped, but I don't think anyone disputes that. Straw men don't make for very rational discussions.

Although Americans do seem to be extremely hostile to each other (having the greatest ratio of their own people in jail and whatnot), so it's not entirely surprising that they have a very bleak view of humanity in general.


I'm in American and I have a huge belief in humanity. He didn't serve time in prison and the celebrities are protesting that he should be a free man when he ran in the first place. I'm soory, but criminals who run away aren't high in my books.


Damn straight. He probably knew that he'd get exactly what he dished out if he went to jail so fled like a pussy!!


Fri Oct 02, 2009 3:41 pm
Post Re: October 01, 2009: "From 'Wanted and Desired' to 'Reviled..."
Francois Tremblay wrote:
I think it's absolutely ridiculous to put him in prison, as he is obviously not a danger to society. To me that's what the petition is really all about. So I don't know why Berardinelli is going off at this. Sure, rapists should be stopped, but I don't think anyone disputes that. Straw men don't make for very rational discussions.

Although Americans do seem to be extremely hostile to each other (having the greatest ratio of their own people in jail and whatnot), so it's not entirely surprising that they have a very bleak view of humanity in general.


I know this will offend you, but I don't care. This is probably the dumbest post I've ever read. What, exactly, is ridiculous about putting a rapist in prison? Seriously, how can your brain even come up with that thought? By all accounts Polanski raped a 13 year old girl when he was 30. He pled to a lesser crime, then fled the country for decades. How does that not deserve prison time? He probably won't serve time because he's famous and has money, but how can you say he doesn't deserve to be punished for a crime he committed? Maybe you need to familiarize yourself with the American legal system. When someone is convicted of a crime, there is usually some sort of penalty to be paid. This penalty varies depending upon the severity of the crime committed. Polanski admitted he committed a crime, so whatever penalty the court imposes should be served by him. Allowing him to flout the system in this manner makes a mockery of the justice system. The outrage of Hollywood is completely unjustified.

Also, your last statement is completely off base and offensive. Just because Americans actually have a somewhat decent legal system and do tend to punish citizens for crimes, doesn't mean they have a bleak outlook of humanity. That's an incredibly ignorant conclusion to jump to. Basing that on one statistic is completely misleading and short-sighted. It sounds to me that you're taking an opportunity to insert your own personal bias into the situation and bash Americans. You can try to feign being rational, but your words prove otherwise. Good day.


Fri Oct 02, 2009 4:24 pm
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