About Rajmund Roman Thierry Liebling
Roman Polanski (born 18 August 1933) is a French-Polish film director, producer, writer and actor. Having made films in Poland, Britain, France and the USA, he is considered one of the few "truly international filmmakers." Polanski's films have inspired diverse directors, including the Coen Brothers, Atom Egoyan, Darren Aronofsky, Park Chan-wook, Abel Ferrara, and Wes Craven.
Born in Paris to Polish parents, he moved with his family back to Poland in 1937, shortly before the outbreak of World War II. He survived the Holocaust and was educated in Poland and became a director of both art house and commercial films. Polanski's first feature-length film, Knife in the Water (1962), made in Poland, was nominated for a United States Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film but was beaten by Federico Fellini's 8½.
He has since received five more Oscar nominations, along with two Baftas, four Césars, a Golden Globe Award and the Palme d'Or of the Cannes Film Festival in France. In the United Kingdom he directed three films, beginning with Repulsion (1965). In 1968 he moved to the United States, and cemented his status by directing the Oscar-winning horror film Rosemary's Baby (1968).
In 1969, Polanski's pregnant wife, Sharon Tate, was murdered by members of the Manson Family while staying at Polanski's Benedict Canyon home above Los Angeles. Following Tate's death,
Polanski returned to Europe and spent much of his time in Paris and Gstaad, but did not direct another film until Macbeth (1971) in England.
The following year he went to Italy to make What? (1973) and subsequently spent the next five years living near Rome. However, he traveled to Hollywood to direct Chinatown (1974). The film was nominated for eleven Academy Awards, and was a critical and box-office success. Polanski's next film, The Tenant (1976), was shot in France, and completed the "Apartment Trilogy", following Repulsion and Rosemary's Baby.
In 1977, after a photo shoot in Los Angeles, Polanski was arrested for the sexual abuse of a 13-year-old girl and pleaded guilty to the charge of unlawful sex with a minor. To avoid sentencing, Polanski fled to his home in London, eventually settling in France. In September 2009, he was arrested by Swiss police at the request of U.S. authorities, which also asked for his extradition. The Swiss rejected that request, and instead released him from custody, declaring him a "free man." During an interview for a later film documentary, he offered his apology to the woman for that unlawful sexual encounter, and in a separate interview with Swiss TV he said that he has regretted that episode for the last 33 years.
Polanski continued to make films such as The Pianist (2002), a World War II true story drama about a Jewish-Polish musician. The film won three Academy Awards including Best Director, along with numerous international awards. He also directed other films, including Oliver Twist (2005), a story which parallels his own life as a "young boy attempting to triumph over adversity. His most recent films are The Ghost Writer (2010), a thriller focusing on a ghostwriter working with a former British Prime Minister, and Carnage (2011), a comedy-drama starring Jodie Foster and Kate Winslet.
Polanski was born as Rajmund Roman Thierry Polański in Paris, France, the son of Bula and Ryszard Liebling, a painter and manufacturer of sculptures, who changed his family name from Liebling to Polański. His mother had a daughter, Annette, by her previous husband. Annette managed to survive Auschwitz, where her mother died, and left Poland forever for France. Polanski's Polish-born father was Jewish; Polanski's Russian-born mother had been raised Roman Catholic, and was of half Jewish ancestry.
World War II
The Polański family moved back to the Polish city of Kraków in 1936, and were living there when World War II began with the invasion of Poland. Neither of Polanski's parents were religious. Kraków was soon occupied by the German forces, and Nazi racial and religious purity laws made the Polańskis targets of persecution, forcing them into the Kraków Ghetto, along with thousands of the city's Jews. As a child, Polanski witnessed both the ghettoization of Kraków's Jews into a compact area of the city, and the subsequent deportation of all the ghetto's Jews to concentration camps, including watching as his father was taken away. He remembers from age six, one of his first experiences of the terrors to follow:
I had just been visiting my grandmother . . . when I received a foretaste of things to come. At first I didn't know what was happening. I simply saw people scattering in all directions. Then I realized why the street had emptied so quickly. Some women were being herded along it by German soldiers. Instead of running away like the rest, I felt compelled to watch.
One older woman at the rear of the column couldn't keep up. A German officer kept prodding her back into line, but she fell down on all fours, . . . Suddenly a pistol appeared in the officer's hand. There was a loud bang, and blood came welling out of her back. I ran straight into the nearest building, squeezed into a smelly recess beneath some wooden stairs, and didn't come out for hours. I developed a strange habit: clenching my fists so hard that my palms became permanently calloused. I also woke up one morning to find that I had wet my bed.
His father survived the Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp in Austria, but his mother perished at Auschwitz. Polański escaped the Kraków Ghetto in 1943 and survived the war using the name Romek Wilk with the help of some Polish Roman Catholic families with whom he came into contact. As a child of partially Jewish ancestry, in hiding without parents, he lived with numerous different Catholic families, attended church, learned to recite most Catholic prayers by heart, and behaved outwardly as a Roman Catholic, although he was never baptized. However, his efforts to assimilate into Catholic households as a member of the family often failed. In one instance, the parish priest visited the family and began to interrogate him, as Polanski recalls:
"Who exactly are you?" he asked. "Where were you baptized?" . . . "What was the name of your parish priest?" . . . He pursued his inquisition to the bitter end. "You're a little liar," he said finally. "You've never been baptized at all." He took me by the ear and led me over to the mirror. "Look at yourself. Look at those eyes, that mouth, those ears. You aren't one of us."
Writer Mitchell Glazer describes Polanski's difficult childhood: Truth and myth about Polanski merge in a grisly, Jerzy Kosinskiesque tale: at six, slipping through the Cracow sewers with gangs of Jewish children to steal food for their families; having his mother hauled away before his eyes to perish in Auschwitz; at seven, being hidden by various non-Jews (for a fee) and finally being sent to a Polish farm to live with a peasant family. The stories become even darker: near fatal beatings (he has a metal plate in his head), starvation, night escapes across the freezing Polish countryside. And all this before he was twelve.
As he roamed the countryside trying to survive in a Poland now occupied by German troops, he witnessed many horrors, such as being "forced to take part in a cruel and sadistic game in which German soldiers took shots at him for target practice." Author Ian Freer concludes that his constant childhood fears and dread of violence have contributed to the "tangible atmospheres he conjures up on film."
By the time the war ended in 1945, a fifth of the Polish population had been killed, with the vast majority of the victims being civilians. Of those deaths, 3 million were of Polish Jews, 90% of the country's Jewish population.
After the war
After the war he was reunited with his father, and moved back to Kraków. His father remarried December 21, 1946 with Wanda Zajączkowska (to a woman Polanski never liked) and died of cancer in 1984. Time repaired the family contacts, Polanski visited them in Kraków, and relatives visited him in Hollywood and Paris. Polanski recalls the villages and families he lived with as relatively primitive by European standards:
They were really simple Catholic peasants. This Polish village was like the English village in Tess. Very primitive. No electricity. The kids with whom I lived didn't know about electricity . . . they wouldn't believe me when I told them it was enough to turn on a switch!
He stated that "you must live in a Communist country to really understand how bad it can be. Then you will appreciate capitalism." He also remembered events at the war's end and his reintroduction to mainstream society when he was 12, forming friendships with other children, such as Roma Ligocka, Ryszard Horowitz and his family:
Richard was one of the very few children to have survived deportation from the Kraków ghetto and the only one to have survived the transit camp that followed. His father had hidden him in a latrine cesspool, neck-deep, while the other children were being rounded up for liquidation . . . Regina Horowitz was a typical Jewish mother, warm, resilient, and vital—a tower of strength. She always lit candles on Friday nights, and for the first time in my life I found myself in a household where Jewish rites were observed.
Introduction to movies
Occasionally, he was able to watch films, either at school or at a local cinema, using whatever pocket money he had. Polanski writes, "Most of this went on the movies, but movie seats were dirt cheap, so a little went a long way. I lapped up every kind of film." As time went on, movies became more than an escape into entertainment, as he explains:
Movies were becoming an absolute obsession with me. I was enthralled by everything connected with the cinema— not just the movies themselves but the aura that surrounded them. I loved the luminous rectangle of the screen, the sight of the beam slicing through the darkness from the projection booth, the miraculous synchronization of sound and vision, even the dusty smell of the tip-up seats. More than anything else, though I was fascinated by the actual mechanics of the process.
Polanski attended the National Film School in Łódź, the third-largest city in Poland. In the 1950s Polanski took up acting, appearing in Andrzej Wajda's Pokolenie (A Generation, 1954) and in the same year in Silik Sternfeld's Zaczarowany rower (Enchanted Bicycle or Magical Bicycle). Polanski's directorial debut was also in 1955 with a short film Rower (Bicycle). Rower is a semi-autobiographical feature film, believed to be lost, which also starred Polanski. It refers to his real-life violent altercation with a notorious Kraków felon, Janusz Dziuba, who arranged to sell Polanski a bicycle, but instead beat him badly and stole his money. In real life the offender was arrested while fleeing after fracturing Polanski's skull, and executed for three murders, out of eight prior such assaults, which he had committed. Several other short films made during his study at Łódź gained him considerable recognition, particularly Two Men and a Wardrobe (1958) and When Angels Fall (1959). He graduated in 1959.
Knife in the Water (1962)
Polanski's first feature-length film, Knife in the Water, was also the first significant Polish film after World War II that did not have a war theme. Scripted by Jerzy Skolimowski, Jakub Goldberg and Polanski, Knife in the Water is about a wealthy, unhappily married couple who decide to take a mysterious hitchhiker with them on a weekend boating excursion. A dark and unsettling work, Polanski's debut feature subtly evinces a profound pessimism about human relationships with regard to the psychological dynamics and moral consequences of status envy and sexual jealousy. Knife in the Water was a major commercial success in the West and gave Polanski an international reputation. The film also earned its director his first Academy Award nomination (Best Foreign Language Film, 1963).
Polanski left then-communist Poland and moved to France, where he had already made two notable short films in 1961: The Fat and the Lean and Mammals. While in France, Polanski contributed one segment ("La rivière de diamants") to the French-produced omnibus film, Les plus belles escroqueries du monde (English title: The Beautiful Swindlers) in 1964. However, Polanski found that in the early 1960s the French film industry was generally unwilling to support a rising filmmaker whom they viewed as a cultural Pole and not a Frenchman.
Polanski made three feature films in England, based on original scripts written by himself and Gérard Brach, a frequent collaborator. Repulsion (1965) is a psychological horror film focusing on a young Belgian woman named Carol (Catherine Deneuve), who is living in London with her older sister (Yvonne Furneaux). The film's themes, situations, visual motifs, and effects clearly reflect the influence of early surrealist cinema as well as horror movies of the 1950s – particularly Luis Buñuel's Un chien Andalou, Jean Cocteau's The Blood of a Poet, Henri-Georges Clouzot's Diabolique and Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho.
Cul-de-sac (1966) is a bleak nihilist tragicomedy filmed on location in Northumberland. The general tone and the basic premise of the film owes a great deal to Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot, along with aspects of Harold Pinter's The Birthday Party.
The Fearless Vampire Killers/Dance of the Vampires (1967)
The Fearless Vampire Killers (1967) (known by its original title, "Dance of the Vampires" in most countries outside the US) is a parody of vampire films. The plot concerns a buffoonish professor and his clumsy assistant, Alfred (played by Polanski), who are traveling through Transylvania in search of vampires. The ironic and macabre ending is considered classic Polanski. The Fearless Vampire Killers was Polanski's first feature to be photographed in color with the use of Panavision lenses, and included a striking visual style with snow-covered, fairy-tale landscapes, similar to the work of Soviet fantasy filmmakers. In addition, the richly textured color schemes of the settings evoke the magical, kaleidoscopic paintings of the great Russian-Jewish artist Marc Chagall, who provides the namesake for the innkeeper in the film. The film was written for Jack MacGowran, who played the lead role of Professor Abronsius.
Polanski met Sharon Tate while the film was being made, where she played the role of the local innkeeper's daughter. They were married in London on 20 January 1968.
Rosemary's Baby (1968)
Paramount studio head Robert Evans brought Polanski to America to direct the film Downhill Racer, but Polanski read the novel Rosemary's Baby non-stop through the night and the following morning decided he wanted to write as well as direct it. The film, Rosemary's Baby (1968), was a box-office success and became his first Hollywood production, thereby establishing his reputation as a major commercial filmmaker. The film, a horror-thriller set in trendy Manhattan, is about Rosemary Woodhouse (Mia Farrow), a young housewife who is impregnated by the devil. Polanski's screenplay adaptation earned him a second Academy Award nomination.
On 9 August 1969, while Polanski was working in London, his wife, Sharon Tate, and four other people were murdered at the Polanskis' residence in Los Angeles.
Polanski abandoned his project and did not resume working until the production of Shakespeare's The Tragedy of Macbeth. Jon Finch and Francesca Annis played the lead roles. He adapted Shakespeare's original text into a screenplay with the British theater critic Kenneth Tynan. In his autobiography Polanski wrote that he wanted to be true to the violent nature of the work, and that he had been aware that his first project following Tate's murder, would be subject to scrutiny and probable cricitism regardless of the subject matter; if he had made a comedy he would have been perceived as callous.
Written by Polanski and previous collaborator Gérard Brach, What? (1973) is a mordant absurdist comedy loosely based on the themes of Alice in Wonderland and Henry James. The film is a rambling shaggy dog story about the sexual indignities that befall a winsome young American hippie woman hitchhiking through Europe.
Polanski returned to Hollywood in 1973 to direct Chinatown for Paramount Pictures. The film was nominated for 11 Academy Awards. The stars, Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway, both received Oscar nominations for their roles, and the script by Robert Towne won for Best Original Screenplay. Polanski appears in a cameo role.
The Tenant (1976)
Polanski returned to Paris for his next film, The Tenant (1976), which was based on a 1964 novel by Roland Topor, a French writer of Polish-Jewish origin. In addition to directing the film, Polanski also played a leading role of a timid Polish immigrant living in Paris. Together with his two earlier works, The Tenant can be seen as the third installment in a loose trilogy of films called the "Apartment Trilogy" that explore the themes of social alienation and psychic and emotional breakdown. In his autobiography, Polanski wrote: "I had a great admiration for American institutions and regarded the United States as the only truly democratic country in the world."
He dedicated his next film, Tess (1979), to the memory of his late wife, Sharon Tate. It was Tate who suggested to Polanski that he read it, as she felt it might make a good film. Tess was Polanski's first film since his 1977 arrest in Los Angeles, and because of the American-British extradition treaty, Tess was shot in the north of France instead of Hardy's England. Nastassja Kinski appeared in the title role opposite Peter Firth and Leigh Lawson.
The film became the most expensive made in France up to that time. Ultimately, Tess proved a financial success and was well-received by both critics and the public. For Tess, Polanski won France's César Awards for Best Picture and Best Director and received his fourth Academy Award nomination (and his second nomination for Best Director). The film received three Oscars: best cinematography, best art direction and best costume design. In addition, Tess was nominated for best picture.
Nearly seven years passed before Polanski's next film, Pirates, a lavish period piece starring Walter Matthau, which the director intended as an homage to the beloved Errol Flynn swashbucklers of his childhood. The film was shot on location in Tunisia, using a full sized pirate vessel constructed for the production. It was a financial and critical failure.
Frantic (1988) was Hitchcockian suspense-thriller starring Harrison Ford and the actress/model Emmanuelle Seigner, who later became Polanski's wife . The film follows an ordinary tourist in Paris whose wife is kidnapped. He attempts, hopelessly, to go through the Byzantine bureaucratic channels to deal with her disappearance, but finally takes matters into his own hands.
Polanski followed this with the dark psycho-sexual film Bitter Moon (1992), followed by a film of the acclaimed play Death and the Maiden (1994) starring Sigourney Weaver, and then The Ninth Gate (1999), a thriller based on the novel The Club Dumas and starring Johnny Depp.
In 1997, Polanski directed a stage version of his 1967 film The Fearless Vampire Killers, which debuted in Vienna followed by successful runs in Stuttgart, Hamburg, Berlin, and Budapest. On 11 March 1998, Polanski was elected a member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts.
The Pianist (2002)
In 2001, Polanski filmed The Pianist, an adaptation of the World War II autobiography of the same name by Polish-Jewish musician Władysław Szpilman. Szpilman's experiences as a persecuted Jew in Poland during World War II were reminiscent of Polanski and his family. While Szpilman and Polanski escaped the concentration camps, their families did not, eventually perishing.
When Warsaw, Poland was chosen for the 2002 premiere of The Pianist, "the country exploded with pride." According to reports, numerous former communists came to the screening and "agreed that it was a fantastic film."
In May 2002, the film won the Palme d'Or (Golden Palm) award at the Cannes Film Festival, as well as Césars for Best Film and Best Director, and later the 2002 Academy Award for Directing. Because he would have been arrested once in the United States, Polanski did not attend the Academy Awards ceremony in Hollywood. After the announcement of the Best Director Award, Polanski received a standing ovation from most of those present in the theater. Actor Harrison Ford accepted the award for Polanski, and then presented the Oscar to him at the Deauville Film Festival five months later in a public ceremony. Polanski later received the Crystal Globe award for outstanding artistic contribution to world cinema at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in 2004.
Oliver Twist (2005)
Oliver Twist is an adaptation of Dickens's classic, written by The Pianist's Ronald Harwood and shot in Prague. Polanski said in interviews that he made the film as something he could show his children, and that the life of the young scavenger mirrored his own life, fending for himself in WWII Poland.
The Ghost Writer (2010)
The Ghost Writer, a thriller focusing on a ghostwriter working on the memoirs of a character based loosely on former British prime minister Tony Blair, swept the European Film Awards in 2010, winning six awards, including best movie, director, actor and screenplay. When it premiered at the 60th Berlinale in February 2010, Polanski won a Silver Bear for Best Director, and in February 2011, it won four César Awards, France’s version of the Academy Awards.
The cast includes Ewan McGregor as the writer and Pierce Brosnan as former British Prime Minister Adam Lang. The film was shot on locations in Germany.
In the U.S., film critic Roger Ebert included it in his top 10 pick for 2010, and states that "this movie is the work of a man who knows how to direct a thriller. Smooth, calm, confident, it builds suspense instead of depending on shock and action. " Co-star Ewan McGregor agrees, saying about Polanski that "he's a legend. . . I've never examined a director and the way that they work, so much before. He's brilliant, just brilliant, and absolutely warrants his reputation as a great director."
Polanski shot Carnage in February/March 2011. The film is a screen version of Yasmina Reza’s play God of Carnage, a comedy about the relationship between two couples after their children get in a fight at school and the selfishness of everyone, which eventually leads to chaos. It stars Kate Winslet, Jodie Foster, Christoph Waltz and John C. Reilly. Though set in New York, it was shot in Paris due to Polanski's legal inability to travel to the US. The film had its world premiere on September 9, 2011 at the Venice Film Festival and was released in the US by Sony Pictures Classics on December 16, 2011.
Co-stars Jodie Foster and Kate Winslet commented about Polanski's directing style. According to Foster, "He has a very, very definitive style about how he likes it done. He decides everything. He decided every lens. Every prop. Everything. It’s all him." Winslet adds that "Roman is one of the most extraordinary men I’ve ever met. The guy is 77 years old. He has an effervescent quality to him. He’s very joyful about his work, which is infectious. He likes to have a small crew, to the point that, when I walked on the set, my thought was, ‘My God, this is it?’” Also noting that style of directing, New York Film Festival director Richard Pena, during the American premier of the film, called Polanski "a poet of small spaces . . . in just a couple of rooms he can conjure up an entire world, an entire society."
Marriages and relationships
Polanski's first wife, Barbara Lass (née Kwiatkowska), was a Polish actress who also starred in Polanski's 1959 When Angels Fall. The couple were married in 1959 and divorced in 1961.
He met rising actress Sharon Tate while filming The Fearless Vampire Killers, and during the production the two of them began dating. On 20 January 1968, Polanski married Tate in London. In his autobiography, Polanski described his brief time with Tate as the best years of his life.
She died a year and a half after they were married as one of the victims of the Manson murders, in August 1969. In December of that year, Charles Manson and several members of his "family" were arrested, tried, and found guilty of first-degree murder of Tate and three friends at Polanski's home. Polanski has said that his absence on the night of the murders is the greatest regret of his life. In his autobiography, he wrote, "Sharon's death is the only watershed in my life that really matters", and commented that her murder changed his personality from a "boundless, untroubled sea of expectations and optimism" to one of "ingrained pessimism ... eternal dissatisfaction with life".
In 1976, Polanski started a romantic relationship with Nastassja Kinski, who starred in Tess. She was between 15 and 17 years old, and he was 43. Their relationship ended at the completion of filming. In an interview with David Letterman in 1982, she described their relationship and gave her opinion about his sexual assault case, claiming it was "ridiculous" and his residence in France was "a loss for America."
In 1989, Polanski married French actress Emmanuelle Seigner. They have two children, daughter Morgane and son Elvis. Polanski and his children speak Polish at home.
Sexual assault case
Main article: Roman Polanski sexual abuse case
On 11 March 1977, Polanski, then 43 years old, was arrested for the sexual assault of 13-year-old Samantha Geimer during a photo shoot for French Vogue magazine. Soon after he was indicted on six counts of criminal behavior, including rape. At his arraignment Polanski pled not guilty to all charges.
Geimer's attorney next arranged a plea bargain, which Polanski accepted, in which five of the six charges would be dismissed. As a result, Polanski pled guilty to the charge of "Unlawful Sexual Intercourse with a minor," and was ordered to undergo 90 days of psychiatric evaluation at Chino State Prison.
On release from prison after 42 days, Polanski expected that at final sentencing he would be put on probation, but the judge, Laurence J. Rittenband, had apparently changed his mind in the interim and now "suggested" to Polanski's attorney, Douglas Dalton, that more jail time and possible deportation were in order. Polanski was also told by his attorney that despite the fact that the prosecuting attorney's recommended probation, "the judge could no longer be trusted . . ." and the judge's representations were "worthless."
Upon learning of the judge's plans Polanski fled to France on 1 February 1978, just hours before sentencing by the judge. As a French citizen, he has been protected from extradition and has lived mostly in France since then.
Geimer sued Polanski in 1988, alleging sexual assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress and seduction. In 1993 Polanski agreed to settle with Geimer; however, in August 1996 Polanski still owed her $604,416. Geimer and her lawyers later confirmed that the settlement was completed.
On 26 September 2009, Polanski was arrested while in Switzerland at the request of U.S. authorities. He was kept in jail near Zurich for two months, then put under house arrest at his home in Gstaad while awaiting decision of appeals fighting extradition to the U.S. On 12 July 2010 the Swiss rejected the U.S. request, declared him a "free man" and released him from custody. All six of the original charges still remain pending in the U.S.
The victim, Samantha Geimer, during a television interview on 10 March 2011, blames the media, reporters, the court, and the judge for causing "way more damage to [her] and her family than anything Roman Polanski has ever done." She adds that the media were "really cruel," stating that the judge was using her and a noted celebrity for his own personal gain from the media exposure.
In 2008 the documentary film, Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired, was released in Europe and the U.S. where it won numerous awards. The film focuses on the judge in the case and the possible reasons why he changed his mind. It includes interviews with those involved in the case, including the victim, Geimer, who commented about the judge:
"He didn't care what happened to me, and he didn't care what happened to Polanski. He was orchestrating some little show . . . " Geimer's attorney, Lawrence Silver, adds that Polanski "was supposed to be treated fairly, and he clearly was not."
In an interview with the prosecuting attorney, Roger Gunson, he states "I'm not surprised that Polanski left under those circumstances," and, "it was going to be a real circus." Former DA David Wells, made famous for stating on the documentary that he advised the trial judge to incarcerate Polanski, later admitted that he 'played up' his own role in the prosecution and that these back-door conversations in fact did not take place. David Wells's original statements were the most damning against the Polanski prosecution.
In September 2011, the documentary film Roman Polanski: A Film Memoir, had its world premiere in Zurich, Switzerland. During an interview in the film, he offers his apology to Geimer: "She is a double victim: My victim, and a victim of the press."
Vanity Fair libel case
In 2004, Polanski sued Vanity Fair magazine in London for libel. A 2002 article in the magazine claimed that Polanski made sexual advances towards a young model while traveling to Tate's funeral. The trial included testimony of actress Mia Farrow and others, and it was concluded from the evidence that the event could not have happened. Polanski was awarded £50,000 in damages by the High Court in London.
Awards and nominations
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_Polanski#Awards_and_nominations -------------------- Roman Polanski (Polish: Roman Polański, Polish pronunciation: [ˈrɔman pɔˈlaɲskʲi]; born 18 August 1933) is a Polish-French film director, producer, writer and actor. Born in Paris to Polish parents, Polanski relocated with his family to Poland in 1937. After surviving the Holocaust, he continued his education in Poland and became a critically acclaimed director of both art house and commercial films. Polanski's first feature-length film, Knife in the Water (1962), made in Poland, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. He has since received five more Oscar nominations, and in 2002 received the Academy Award for Best Director for his film, The Pianist. He has also been the recipient of two Baftas, four Césars, a Golden Globe and the Palme d'Or. He left Poland in 1961 to live in France for several years, then moved to the United Kingdom where he collaborated with Gérard Brach on three films, beginning with Repulsion (1965). In 1968 he moved to the United States, immediately cementing his burgeoning directing status with the 1968 groundbreaking Academy Award winning horror film Rosemary's Baby.
In 1969, Polanski's pregnant wife, Sharon Tate, was murdered while staying at the Polanski's Benedict Canyon home above Los Angeles by members of the Manson Family. Following Tate's death, Polanski returned to Europe and spent much of his time in Paris and Gstaad, but did not make another film until he filmed Macbeth (1971) in England. The following year he went to Italy to make What? (1973) and subsequently spent the next five years living near Rome. However, he traveled to Hollywood to direct Chinatown (1974) for Paramount Pictures, with Robert Evans serving as producer. The film was nominated for eleven Academy Awards, and was a critical and box-office success; the script by Robert Towne won for Best Original Screenplay.Polanski's next film, The Tenant (1976), was shot in France, and completed the "Apartment Trilogy", following Repulsion and Rosemary's Baby.
In 1977, after a photo shoot in Los Angeles, Polanski was arrested for the sexual abuse of a 13 year old girl. He was charged with rape but pleaded guilty to unlawful sex with a minor. To avoid sentencing, Polanski fled to his home in London, and then moved on to France the following day. In September 2009, Polanski was arrested by Swiss police, at the request of U.S. authorities, when he traveled to receive a lifetime achievement award at the Zurich Film Festival. In October 2009, the U.S. requested his extradition; however, on July 12, 2010, the Swiss rejected that request and instead declared him a "free man" after releasing him from custody.
Polanski continued to make films such as The Pianist (2002), a World War II-set adaptation of Jewish-Polish musician Władysław Szpilman's autobiography of the same name, which echoed some of Polanski's earlier life experiences. Like Szpilman, Polanski escaped the ghetto and the concentration camps while family members were killed. The film won three Academy Awards including Best Director, the Cannes Film Festival's Palme d'Or, and seven French César Awards including Best Picture and Best Director. He then released the successful films Oliver Twist (2005), To Each His Own Cinema (2007), and The Ghost Writer (2010), completed while under house arrest.
Polanski was born as Rajmund Roman Thierry Polański in Paris, France, the son of Bula (née Katz-Przedborska) and Ryszard Polański (né Liebling), a painter and plastics manufacturer. His mother had a daughter, Annette, by her previous husband. Annette managed to survive Auschwitz, where her mother died, and left Poland forever for France. His father was Jewish and his Russian-born mother had been raised Roman Catholic. Ryszard Liebling had changed his surname to Polański in early 1932. The Polański family moved back to the Polish city of Kraków in 1936, and were living there when the World War II began with the invasion of Poland. Neither of Roman Polanski's parents was religious. Kraków was soon occupied by the German forces. Nazi racial and religious purity laws made the Polańskis targets of persecution and forced them into the Kraków Ghetto, along with thousands of the city's Jews.
His father survived the Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp in Austria, but his mother perished at Auschwitz. Polański himself escaped the Kraków Ghetto in 1943 and survived the war using the name Romek Wilk with the help of some Polish Roman Catholic families. As a Jewish child in hiding, he behaved outwardly as a Roman Catholic, although he was never baptized as such. After the war he was reunited with his father and moved back to Kraków. Roman Polanski's father married Wanda Zajączkowska, but Roman disliked his stepmother, which further estranged father and son, who had never been able to establish an intimate relationship. Ryszard Polański died of cancer in 1984.
Roman Polanski's Timeline
August 18, 1933
Paris, Ile-de-France, France
January 20, 1968
London, Greater London, United Kingdom