One of my earliest memories of late night film watching was viewing an intoxicating interview on BBC Two's Moviedrome between the presenter Mark Cousins and the film director Roman Polanski. The interview covered most of the Pole's illustrious career whilst touching on the controversy that has engulfed his life and led to his self-imposed exile in France away from Hollywood.
The interview was spellbinding in the sense that Cousins did not relent from a tough line of questioning almost leading to a butting of heads due to the difference of opinion between the two. Twice, if memory serves, the interview had to be stopped due to Polanski's consternations.
Polanski is a polarising figure, a genuinely talented filmmaker but fundamentally a maverick who has banged his own drum. This documentary A Film Memoir is based around a series of interviews between Polanski and his long-time collaborator Andrew Braunsburg when under house arrest at Polanski's home of Gstaad, Switzerland in 2009 and 2010.
The interview covers all of the milestones of Polanski's life from his early work in Poland including his international calling card Knife in the Water, his move to Paris, Chinatown, the murder of his wife Sharon Tate by Charles Manson, his subsequent arrest in 1977 and his eventual triumph of winning an Oscar for Best Director for The Pianist which recalled his own horror of growing up I'm he Krakow ghetto.
Recollections are interspersed with film excerpts, news footage, press coverage, private photos and documents. Whilst is does offer a rare glimpse into the world of Polanski you nevertheless feel there is always more to the story, and maybe that is his lasting appeal, you never know the full tale.
Roman Polanski: A Film Memoir is released from Network Distribution and will also be available to rent from Curzon Home Cinema via BT Box Office now