There’s no doubt that Roman Polanski’s life has been a struggle between achievement and adversity. He survived the Holocaust but lost his mother to it. As a child he survived an altercation with a killer but years later lost his second wife to another one. From box office blow-outs to prison time and exile, this book is one roller coaster ride after another.
Book Description: Cinematic genius – international playboy – tragic victim – immoralist. Which is the real Roman Polanski?
The world press has called him this and more. Now, for the first time, and “to set the record straight,” the brilliant director of such films as Knife in the Water, Repulsion, Cul de Sac, Rosemary’s Baby, Chinatown and Tess tells his own Roman, his own story, revealing – in fascinating detail that only he could ever know – the mosaic of his life. Excusing nothing, being brutally honest about his transgressions from convention, Polanski deals with everything here, giving us remarkable insight into the schemes and intrigues that lie in wait for anyone living in the high-powered world in which he does.
Among the many doors that are unlocked for us are those that lead back to his frightening but not joyless childhood in Nazi-occupied Poland, both inside the ghetto and on the run; to Lodz film school in the fifties, where he worked and played with equal intensity; to Paris and his early struggles to become established as a director; to London and Hollywood in the “swinging” sixties, where he first won international acclaim. We follow him through his marriages, his love affairs, his friendships with people as diverse as his own wide-ranging interests – filmmakers, artists, talented celebrities, bizarre unknowns. With him we experience the full force of the tragedy that struck his wife, Sharon Tate, who was murdered by the Manson “family”; his years of disenchantment and self-inquiry; his arrest and imprisonment in California on charges alleging the rape of a minor; his personal and professional resurgence in France.
Roman Polanski is an artist of our time. Politically, technologically, socially, his story has a resonance that leaps from the page, is a journey in mid-flight with locations in Warsaw, Hollywood, Paris, London, Rome, anyplace his obsession with film brought him. Inevitably, his odyssey includes encounters with the gods of our time – the great movie stars – as well as accounts of his personal achievements and despair, his reaction to the great praise that greeted him, and to the equally great calumny that he has suffered.
In Roman, Polanski never shrinks from revealing himself, and allows us to discover the vital artist and the real person behind the brutal headlines and supermarket scribblings. What we discover is the human being; what we come to understand is the man himself. And how, exactly, life happened to Roman Polanski.
Publisher: William Morrow & Co; First Edition edition (January 1984)