Roman Polanski Returns to Spotlight After Being Ousted from Academy for Rape Conviction
Roman Polanski is making his return to the spotlight a year after his expulsion from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences over his controversial past.
The Chinatown director will be screening his new film J’Accuse at the 2019 Venice International Film Festival in late August, it was announced Thursday. The premiere will mark his first public appearance at a major film festival since losing his membership to the Academy in May 2018, despite his win for Best Director in 2003 for The Pianist.
The disgraced film director was ousted by the AMPAS Board of Governors after fleeing the United States following his guilty plea to a charge of statutory rape in 1977.
Polanski has been screening the film for potential buyers under the title An Officer and a Spy, according to multiple reports. The project is a dramatization of the Alfred Dreyfus scandal in 19th century France. Dreyfus was a French Jewish army captain who was falsely accused of spying for the Germans in 1894. He was convicted and imprisoned, and later exonerated in 1906.
The 85-year-old filmmaker infamously pled guilty to engaging in unlawful sexual intercourse after 13-year-old Samantha Geimer accused him of getting her drunk and giving her part of a Quaalude at a California hotel.
He went on to serve 42 days in jail due to a plea bargain, however he fled to France when ordered to serve the remainder of his 90-day sentence.
The Oscar-winning director was eventually detained in 2009 by Zurich police after the United States attempted to have him extradited to face charges relating to the decades-old rape case.
The Venice Film Festival kicks off the fall festival season, where films vie for awards. The event is considered to be the first major kickoff to awards season. Oscar-winning films like La La Land, Birdman and Gravity have all world premiered at the festival.
Also being screened at the festival are Todd Phillips’ Joker, Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story and Steven Soderbergh’s The Laundromat.