HBO begins a summer series of weekly Monday-night documentaries with tonight’s Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired (9 p.m. ET), a movie-length examination of the director’s infamous court case charging him with unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor.
The film, directed by Marina Zenovich, includes new interview segments with both Polanski and the now-grown woman who was, in the view of the court, his victim – but while this documentary is well worth watching, and sheds new light on many aspects of the case, both of those interviews are notably, naggingly incomplete and inconclusive.
Polanski, interviewed in snippets over a regal-looking restaurant meal, asks the interviewer as many questions as he answers, and, when the subject comes up about the beautiful young women linked to Polanski over the years (including his wife, Sharon Tate, one of the victims of the Charles Manson murder spree), Polanski slowly reveals an almost proud and leering smile that doesn’t exactly help his case.
But the interview with Samantha Geimer, who at age 13 shared champagne and Quaalude, and had sex with Polanski, is where questions really go unasked, as well as unanswered.
“Give my mom a break,” she says now, defending her mother for allowing her to go off for the day to be photographed for a fashion magazine by the famous film director. “It’s not her fault.”
But does Samantha herself feel she was victimized? She doesn’t say. And though a closing graphic says her civil suit against him was settled out of court, and that she subsequently forgave him, we never hear her side of the story. Which is ridiculous, when she’s right there.