Roman PolanskiNotorious French-Born Polish Director By Eric Schneider
Talented Polish filmmaker with a troubled past.
A highly accomplished director of tense and moody tales, Roman Polanski is also no stranger to real-life drama. Although the Polish filmmaker has helmed a number of classics, most notably Rosemary's Baby and Chinatown, he is arguably more famous for his associations with real-life incidents—the 1969 murder of his wife, actress Sharon Tate, at the hands of Charles Manson's followers and his '77 arrest on charges of sex with a minor, a situation that led to his status as cinema's most renowned fugitive. Those burdensome personal issues aside, Polanski is often considered a torchbearer of Alfred Hitchcock's brand of taut thriller, particularly for his psychological horror film Repulsion. The Tenant, another exemplary Polanski production marked by tension and obsession, stars the director himself, making it one of the few times he has appeared in a substantial acting role. While latter-day Polanski films are generally not on par with his earlier work, he did manage to strike a chord with The Pianist, a World War II drama that garnered him a Best Director Oscar in 2003. Given his unfavorable status with American law enforcement, Polanski wasn't able to accept his Academy Award in person, and he remains a wanted man in many countries, which may or may not affect his future film endeavors.
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