Thursday, October 01, 2009

Fathers, Be Good To Your Daughters

I greatly admire Roman Polanski's films, but I had largely forgotten the details of the 1977 charges brought against him that caused him to flee the U.S. Now, just thinking about him is starting to nauseate me, for most of the same reasons that I shed no tears for Michael Jackson and can no longer listen to his music without revulsion.

I am no prude, nor would I have been nominated for sainthood as a teenager, and I'm not immune to the heady charms of being plied with champagne and photographed. But I keep putting myself in 13-year-old Samantha Gailey's shoes (I've been in ones like them, and they were Kork-Ease). She's older now than Polanski was when he took advantage of her naive ambitions, and I'm willing to bet that for the past three decades, she's remembered some moment from that "photo session for French Vogue" almost every day.

Meanwhile, Polanski now has a teenage daughter with ambitions of her own. I wonder if that's changed his perspective; what does he tell her about how to protect herself? And how can the man who directed this scene not understand or be remorseful for causing long-lasting harm to someone else's daughter?

(Polanski's character in Chinatown gave Nicholson's character that scar on his nose, by the way.)

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