Monday, January 21, 2008

Polanski SOLD

HBO inks U.S. rights to 'Polanski' doc
By Gregg Goldstein and Steven Zeitchik

After an extended and mutating round of dealmaking, HBO picked up all U.S. rights for Marina Zenovich's documentary "Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired." The network's docu division will handle the Sundance title's cable bow, with a theatrical release still to be determined. The feature tracks the iconic director's statutory rape trial and urges a second look at the particulars of the case. TWC bought all rights excluding North America and U.K. TV on Saturday. The deal closed after 2 a.m. Sunday morning. In the final round, bidding came down to HBO, ThinkFilm and Roadside Attractions, with Netflix, A+E and the History Channel attempting various partnerships with theatrical distributors. Since its debut Friday night, "Polanski" was one of the only films to attain universal praise at this year's festival. The other was Nanette Burstein's docu "American Teen," which had top bidders awake until around 4 a.m. Sunday. The sellers and buyers decided to sleep on it and resume talks after sunrise. Jeffrey Levy-Hinte and Lila Yacoub produced "Polanski." Cinetic Media and Josh Braun at Submarine Entertainment repped the filmmakers in the deal.


agnostic monk said...

Good for Ms. Zenovich. Must be a thrill for her, as the life of an independent filmmaker can be a rough road to say the least. I wonder how much time, if any, is spent covering the effect the Tate murders had on Polanksi. Probably not very much.

FrankM said...

I was introduced to Polanski (as a film maker) at a very tender age - in High School we were urged to go and see his early English language movies: Repulsion with the glorious Catherine Deneuve and Cul de Sac with her equally stunning sister, Fran├žoise Dorleac.

The seeds of Polanski's fixation with younger women must surely lie in Cul de Sac, where the aging Donald Pleasance is shacked up in his Lindisfarne castle with the nymphet Dorleac. Later Polanski was to live out his fantasies in real life.

There was already a thread of deviance and perversion in his work then; Repulsion is still, today, the only film I have seen that caused me physically to retch and vomit (I must have been in my highly impressionable mid-teens).

Whatever else, I do hope Zenovich captures his early promise as a film maker.


Jean Harlow said...

Yeah... I am glad that we will be able to see this film and judge for ourselves...

hi monk

agnostic monk said...

hi jean, hi frank, I still haven't seen Repulsion (hanging my head in shame. Every time I go to rent it I stop myself and say "mmmm, not in the mood to retch and vomit," lol). the title of the movie always makes me think of Sandy Good sitting there with her rifle saying that Polanski sort of asked for his wife's murder by making the movie. I don't recall her exact words but it creeps me out. I've liked every other movie of his that I've seen, with the exception of the one starring Johnny Depp. Just didn't gel for me. Death & The Maiden is a little underrated gem though not exactly fun to watch.

FrankM said...

Hey Monk

Conquer your fears and go and rent out Repulsion- I was only sick the first time I saw it, in 1965, when I was 15. And I snuck into the movie house underage, so I guess I got what I deserved.

What is interesting in these two movies (and also Rosemary's Baby, with Mia Farrow, is his penchant for frail, slight, vulnerable young girls (and possibly with actresses that possessed similar qualities). A psychologist might say that men who are attracted to elfin, boyish young women (a la Mia Farrow) are in fact frightened of women, but I'm not a psychologist and I'm certainly not laying that claim directly at Polanski's doorstep.

Of course all these actresses, whatever their looks, were of age and it's a long way from sex with a fourteen year old - even if she did give consent and even if Polanski was set up, both of which have been alleged. Furthermore, in Cul de Sac Fran├žoise Dorleac, although a Lolita/Baby Doll figure, behaves in a way that is both coquettish and manipulative.

But following the premise that, as Wordsworth put it, the child is father of the man then these early movies may have more than intrinsic interest.


A.C. Fisher Aldag said...

Dunno if you could describe the lovely Ms. Tate as either frail, slight or boyish. All of her photographs depict her as, to use the 1940s term, a "knockout". Perhaps she was a departure from Polanski's norm. Perhaps that's why she was sleeping at home on that fateful night, rather than by her beloved husband's protective side. Although I'll agree to the adjective of "vulnerable", because once again, I muse upon the uncanny fact that none of these rich, famous individuals knew how to shoot. Wonder if dear Ms. Tate had her a substantial life insurance policy? Okay, youse guys are wincing and expressing disdain already, I can sense it from here in my frozen tundra, but think about it, at least...

starship said...

Oh, puhleeeze, AC!

FrankM said...

Do you know what, AC. I'll soon be 60 years old and I've never, ever, in my whole life, held or shot a handgun.

And do you know what, I'm kind of proud of that.

And as far as I'm concerned, the NRA can go and suck on a purple doughnut (or a bag of them).


FrankM said...

Dunno if you could describe the lovely Ms. Tate as either frail, slight or boyish. All of her photographs depict her as, to use the 1940s term, a "knockout

Dunno, ACE - it's dangerous to confuse the public persona with the private person. Not that I ever knew Sharon Tate ..

I read this on IMDB:

Whenever she wanted to get away from Hollywood, she fled there [The Big Sur]. Scrubbed of makeup, she would check into rustic Deetjen's Big Sur Inn, often alone, sometimes with girlfriends, and walk the trails, sun at the beach, and blend in with the regulars at Nepenthe. Many did not know, until after her death, that she was an actress.

I also read that in 1864, when she was 21, Sam Peckinph turned her down for The Cincinnati Kid because of her 'timidity'.

OK, it's only guesswork, but I'm not sure she was quite the confident star that the publicity stills portray.


Jean Harlow said...

hi monk... you really should watch Repulsion... it was fabulous... I only saw it about 10 years ago ... if I remember correctly it wasn't gory... it was more suspenseful... that sad it scared the crap out of me LOL

AC. I don't think Mrs. Polanski had an insurance policy because somewhere along the way someone would have mentioned it. Her estate was worth about $100,000 (anyone jump in to correct me) and Roman signed it all over to her parents. The sheet signing everything over is on the web somewhere I don't remember where.. but I have seen it.

agnostic monk said...

sharon sure was a knockout but she wasn't very tall, pics of her next to roman and jay show her almost equal in height to them, and they were both relatively short men. Most people who knew her described her as soft-spoken and a bit shy. She knew how to turn it on when the flashbulbs were going off which is how most of the public knew her.

Even pregnant (and please forgive me for being morbid) in the awful crime scene photo, lying next to the couch you can see that she was quite small.

agnostic monk said...

hey frank, interesting musings about roman's proclivities. while we are on the subject, I brought up Death & The Maiden a few posts back. Without divulging or spoiling too much for those who haven't seen it, it's interesting to me, in the context of all we are discussing, that roman was drawn to this story of a physically tortured woman seeking revenge on her tormentor (perhaps a fantasy of his, born out of sharon's ordeal?) Of course, the woman is sigourney weaver who is anything but small and vulnerable. regardless, when you consider polanski's life, his film choices are interesting.

thanks for the encouragement, jean, I am going to check out repulsion. I don't scare easily but I am bracing myself, lol.