Roman Polanski

"Uneasy with outright comedy, Polanski excels at exploring the dark recesses of the human mind and the fraught, potentially hostile spaces between people desperate but finally unable to make proper, lasting contact." - Geoff Andrew (The Director's Vision, 1999)

Roman Polanski

Director / Screenwriter / Actor / Producer
(1933- ) Born August 18, Paris, France
Top 250 Directors

Key Production Countries: France, UK, USA, Poland, Germany
Key Genres: Drama, Psychological Thriller, Thriller, Comedy, Black Comedy, Period Film, Psychological Drama, Marriage Drama, Horror, Mystery, Melodrama, Supernatural Thriller
Key Collaborators: Gerard Brach (Screenwriter), Herve de Luze (Editor), Alastair McIntyre (Editor), Krzysztof Komeda (Composer), Pawel Edelman (Cinematographer), Pierre Guffroy (Production Designer), Emmanuelle Seigner (Leading Actress), John Brownjohn (Screenwriter), Robert Benmussa (Producer), Gene Gutowski (Producer), Alain Sarde (Producer), Gilbert Taylor (Cinematographer)

"Polanski, like Billy Wilder and Ernst Lubitsch before him, is a genre filmmaker of the classic sort. Although his contemporaries, such as Volker Schlondorff and Krzysztof Kieslowski, have opted for genres of voice, the moral fable, and the satire, Polanski has been far more classical, preferring to use film noir, horror films, or war films and their traditions of mixing plot and character layers in accord with the particular genre convention." - Ken Dancyger (The Director's Idea: The Path to Great Directing, 2006)
"In addition to the mental scars of his tortured childhood, Polanski acknowledges the influences on his work of Beckett, Ionesco, Pinter, Kafka, and Buñuel. Atmosphere is the most important element of his films and the core around which he builds his plots and develops his characters. Like Hitchcock, he considers actors as simple pawns in the game of filmmaking and reportedly subjects them to much abuse on the set, especially the actresses." - The MacMillan International Film Encyclopedia, 1994
"People living on the ragged edge - or forced to live on it: this Polish (French-born) director's films are concerned with pressures, alienation and a succumbing to the evil nightmares lurking within us. One senses a bitterness in Polanski that the beauty of the images he often creates on screen can't gloss over." - David Quinlan (Quinlan's Film Directors, 1999)
"The quintessential Roman Polanski film is a penned-in chamber drama where the air is thick with foreboding, sexual pathology and senseless violence. Within Polanski's shock corridors, the strong prey upon the weak (with an evil glee that borders on the grimly comic in the 2005 Dickens adaptation Oliver Twist) or, less often, the weak perceive a threat that exists only in the passageways of a disordered mind." - Jessica Winter (The Rough Guide to Film, 2007)
"Polanski's work might be seen as an attempt to map out the precise relationship between the contemporary world's instability and tendency to violence and the individual's increasing inability to overcome the isolation and locate some realm of meaning or value beyond himself... From his own isolated position - as a man effectively without a country - Polanski tries to confront the probems of isolation, violence, and evil, and to speak of them for an audience prone to their sway." - J.P. Telotte (International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers, 1991)
"The violence in Polanski's films is not especially prominent; it has seldom erupted with the force achieved by Peckinpah, Arthur Penn, Fuller, or Losey. Much more characteristic is the underlying alienation and hostility: the feeling that people are cut off, unsupported by any shared view of life and society. From this solitariness, the move toward acts of violence is stealthy, remorseless, and even comic." - David Thomson (The New Biographical Dictionary of Film, 2002)
"Compelling tales which are chilling and bizarre are his trademark." - William R. Meyer (The Film Buff's Catalog, 1978)
"People like Truffaut, Lelouch and Godard are like little kids playing at being revolutionaries. I've passed through this stage. I lived in a country where these things happened seriously." - Roman Polanski
"You have to show violence the way it is. If you don't show it realistically, then that's immoral and harmful. If you don't upset people, then that's obscenity." - Roman Polanski
TSPDT Guide
Highly Recommended
Rosemary's Baby (1968) , Chinatown (1974)
Recommended
Knife in the Water (1962) , Repulsion (1965) , Cul-de-sac (1966) , Tess (1979), The Death and the Maiden (1994), The Pianist (2002) , Oliver Twist (2005)
Worth a Look
Mammals (1962), Macbeth (1971), Frantic (1988), The Ninth Gate (1999), The Ghost Writer (2010) , Carnage (2011)
Approach with Caution
Two Men and a Wardrobe (1958), Che? (1972), The Tenant (1976) , Bitter Moon (1992)
Not Recommended
The Fearless Vampire Killers (1967)
Acclaimed Films / IMDB Filmography
1,000 Greatest Films 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films
Roman Polanski / Favourite Films
The Circus (1928) Charles Chaplin, Citizen Kane (1941) Orson Welles, 8½ (1963) Federico Fellini, The Gold Rush (1925) Charles Chaplin, Hamlet (1948) Laurence Olivier, Odd Man Out (1947) Carol Reed.
Source: Time Out (1995)
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