What Would Jake Gittes Do?

If only Jake could forget it. If only.So in the middle of all of this Roman Polanski stuff, what should show up at my door yesterday afternoon but Paramount’s fine new double-disc DVD of “Chinatown”? You know, just to shore up the whole art-being-separate-from-the-artist argument, and also to hit the problem squarely on the nose by highlighting Noah Cross’ famous comment about people being capable of anything in giant type on the back of the box.

Via The House Next Door, here’s an interesting blog post from Brendon Bouzard about the ethical conflict between the impulse to defend a great director from persecution and the sense that people aren’t really confronting the reality of the situation. Which is fairly ugly, from any angle.

3 thoughts on “What Would Jake Gittes Do?”

  1. Thanks for the link to an interesting article which shows a great deal more nuance than the apologists rushing to defend Polanski. I also reread your review of Wanted and Desired. I guess my question would be, will watching it add anything to my understanding of the case, or does it come across as hopelessly biased? And, is it just me, or does being reminded of this case make Woody Allen’s relationship a titch less icky in retrospect. A titch, mind you. Is Hollywood showing itself, not for the first time, to be the most entitled group of an already entitled society?

  2. A possible solution: declare a mistrial in the 1977 proceedings. Quash the unlawful flight charges on the condition that Polanski returns to the US to face the original indictment. Declare any previous civil agreements with Ms. Geimerin irrelevant (to void any out-of-court settlements with binding clauses related to the case) and ignore her publically-expressed desire that the charges be dropped. All parties involved would agree on tabula rasa in anticipation of a new trial.

    This would get Polanski back on US soil. It would remove his claim of judicial prejudice and the prosecutor’s claim of justice denied. It could bring the matter to a close in legal terms. Morally, as always, he’d be entirely on his own.

  3. Hollywood rallying around Polanski makes me ill. I love his films — Rosemary’s Baby and Chinatown have had a deep impact on me. That said, one thing is clear to me: having sex with a child is unlawful and immoral.

    We can’t keep qualifying sexual assault like Goldberg’s “rape-rape” assertion. The victim was a child, and we have to remember, that this has dogged her as well. I’m sure she’d like to be known as anything other than the girl Polanski raped. Hell – I would.

    To me, as a woman who has run a sexual assault centre, who still appreciates great art, it’s clear as day. He needs to take responsibility for his crime.

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