AFP is reporting that a grand assembly of filmmakers, actors and producers from around the world have signed a petition urging the release of director Roman Polanski, who was arrested Sunday in Switzerland on a warrant for a 1977 underage sex case in the United States.
By their extraterritorial nature, film festivals the world over have always permitted works to be shown and for filmmakers to present them freely and safely, even when certain States opposed this.
The arrest of Roman Polanski in a neutral country, where he assumed he could travel without hindrance, undermines this tradition: it opens the way for actions of which no one can know the effects.
For the purposes of this introduction, let’s call it a response. We think of noirs as urban stories, but that’s not always the case—for every L. Though its blueprints were everywhere, noir forged its own language, its own playbook, its own universe.
We talk about noir plotting and tropes, but in fact it drew liberally from the gangster pics of the Depression/Prohibition era, crime procedurals, heist movies, horror films (again, the German Expressionist influence), romantic melodrama, Gothic thrillers, tawdry B-movies, and that other quintessentially American breed, the Western.
It seems inadmissible to them that an international cultural event, paying homage to one of the greatest contemporary film-makers, is used by police to apprehend him.” The following is the SACD petition, followed by a list of names of people who had signed it as of tonight.
For a more extensive detailing of Polanski’s arrest and potential extradition to the United States, check out indie WIRE‘s coverage from earlier today.
We admire its heavily stylized approach—exaggerated camera angles, tension-crafting mise-en-scène, flashbacks, deep focus and trademark shadows—but also its neo-realist and documentary-like experiments.
We think of a never-ending, rain-soaked night—sunlight replaced with neon and nocturnal reflections, the optical trickery of mirrors and shadows—but in contrast, the days of noir scorched its characters.
“We demand the immediate release of Roman Polanski,” urges the petition.
“Film-makers in France, in Europe, in the United States and around the world are dismayed by this decision…
Filmmakers in France, in Europe, in the United States and around the world are dismayed by this decision.