The director is starring in a documentary retracing the dark hours of his childhood in the Krakow ghetto.
Before being a confirmed director, Roman Polansky lived the unimaginable during his childhood: the son of a Polish Jewish family, he found himself forced to live at the age of 6 in the Krakow ghetto. Regularly succeeding in passing between the barriers of the ghetto, he tries to escape reality by going to cinemas. In 1943, his mother and grandmother were murdered in the Auschwitz camp, a major trauma for the young Roman, who will return implicitly to this story in The pianistPalme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 2001.
In The Pianist, Adrien Brody gives a stunning expressionist interpretation
Polish filmmakers Mateusz Kulda and Anna Kokoszka-Romer followed director and photographer Ryszard Horowitz, both Holocaust survivors, for the documentary Walk in Krakow, where they both find themselves in the streets of this cursed city. In France, the documentary will be shown in two cinemas: the Arlequin in Paris and the Omnia Cinéma in Rouen. According to Michèle Halberstadt, co-director of ARP Sélection, which distributes the film, the programmers of French theaters refuse to program this feature film because of the controversy surrounding Roman Polanski, exiled since 1977 in France after being found guilty of sexual relations with a minor in a Hollywood villa. “Operators are cautious and not very brave”, believes for her part Sophie Dulac, owner of the Harlequin, who admits having been convinced by “movie quality”, which does not evoke the setbacks of the filmmaker, as told by AFP to French Film.
The leader of a large cinema network, who preferred to remain anonymous, denounces erroneous comments from Michèle Halberstadt, who “looking for controversy”: “It’s much more pragmatic: there are a lot of films in this period, it’s a documentary that isn’t very good, of TV quality. There is absolutely no form of censorship”, he responds to requests from AFP, relayed by Le Film Français. According to another owner of a Parisian art house, the film has indeed been seen, but it “did not convince, especially in a context where many good films are released.”
Besides Walk in KrakowRoman Polanski has just finished his new feature film, The Palacein which he recounts the descent into hell of a group of rich people locked up in a Swiss palace on New Year’s Eve in the year 2000. The film has no French release date for the moment, but should be presented at the 80th edition of the Venice Film Festival, which will take place from August 30 to September 9.
Walk in Krakow will be released in French theaters on July 5.