Roman Polanski (1933, Paris August 18), Polish Rajmund Roman Polanski is a film director, producer, screenwriter and actor French of Polish origin.



Jewish ancestors, experienced own the evils of the World War II that shortly before kick the conflict moved Paris parents believe that there would be safer to Krakow (Poland). Move to Poland became the first of many misfortunes of life. During the war lost her mother – Catholic “classified racially” as a Jewish father – in concentration camps. His father was also detained two years in a concentration camp.

Professional beginnings

After the war was very young, already began to become interested in the world of cinema and began his career as a stage actor. He later studied at the film school in Łódź.

His first short film was at the age of 21 years. It was Rower (bicycle, 1955), in which he also acts with the title role. Followed Rozbijemy zabawe… (1957), Usmiech zebiczny (1957), Dwaj ludzie z szafa (1958) (known in Castilian as two men and a wardrobe), Lampa (lamp, 1959) and Gdy spadają anioły (1959) (when angels fall in Spain). During the filming of this movie the young Polanski, 26 years old, began a romance with the lead actress Barbara Kwiatkowska-Lass of 19 years, where he married that year and divorced in 1962.

This served to make his first feature film in Poland: the knife in the water (filmed in 1961 but released in 1962), which won a nomination for best foreign film at the Academy Award in 1963. The film already showed some of the features of their following productions as his taste for the claustrophobic, environments placing just three characters (a couple and an unknown) sailing a small boat.

Shortly after Polanski made his latest short films: Le Gros et le maigre (1961), which he filmed in France and which won several awards and Ssaki (1963).

Giving to know

Thanks to the recognition garnered with knife in the water, Polanski filmed repulsion (1965). He wrote the script along with his friend Gérard Brach and featured a soundtrack also intimate krzysztof komeda, who had already made several musical compositions for Roman shorts. This film was already produced by a more or less important company and meant his first big production in the UK, with catherine deneuve as Star and an argument of psychological thriller earned him several awards including the silver bear at the Berlin film festival this year.

In 1966 he shot dead end (Cul-de-sac) in United Kingdom, with donald pleasence as the protagonist, which apart from the claustrophobic atmosphere so characteristic of the author, shows glimpses of a peculiar humour that will accompany some of his best films. Cul-de-sac won the Golden bear at the Berlin film festival, as well as many other prizes.

Tate and the best stage of his life

In 1967 Polanski gave the leap to the United States with the filming of the dance of the vampires, first film filmed in color. This film, a parody of films of the time vampires allowed him to show his interpretative gifts and it was consecrated in the North American market.

Before and during the filming began a love affair with the beautiful actress Sharon tate, of 23 years (despite the fact that it was coming out at the time with a prestigious Hollywood, Jay Sebring hairdresser), where he married in January 1968 in London.

The film was literally destroyed due to excessive censorship of the time and could only be seen in full way later.

In 1968, Polanski filmed in the United States.UU. one of his most emblematic and controversial films: Rosemary’s Baby (known in America as Rosemary baby and the seed of the devil in Spain). Played by actress Mia farrow film won numerous awards (including several nominations for the Academy), he achieved international success and had great repercussion. Note that Polanski had in mind used for the role his wife, Sharon. However, to not say producers nothing about Roman dismissed the idea.

Polanski’s 35 years old, was in the best stage of his life, as recognized himself.

Murder of his wife

In April of 1969 he suffered the death of his beloved composer krzysztof komeda films in an accident. It was the prelude of a series of misfortunes that cebarían with Polish director.

At the time, Polanski had moved to a huge mansion in 10050 Cielo Drive in Los Angeles, California, where occurred one of the events which acquired his life, both personally and film. His wife, actress Sharon tate, who was eight months pregnant was one of the victims of the massacre band Charles manson made in that House. The events took place while Polanski was in London preparing for another film, The day of the Dolphin, which never ended. The event took place the morning of August 9 and Polanski had in mind back day 12 lands us after 20 July in the British capital.

Chinatown and other releases

After a period of inactivity he returned to film in 1971 with Macbeth, in a personal adaptation of William Shakespeare’s play. The film was the first commercial Polanski, failure although in England it worked fine. Highlighted in the film the killing by the protagonist on the escorts of the King which alludes to the murders of his wife and friends.

In 1973 he travelled to Italy to shoot what?, a comedy incongruous with sydne rome and marcello mastroianni reminded at times to Alice in Wonderland and contains some of the funniest of his filmography moments. The film was a failure in the United States.UU., but Europe was an outstanding success in France and Germany. In Spain it was banned by the censors of the time, due to the continuous nudes of Sydne Rome, and could only be seen in art and essay in original version subtitled rooms. It has now released on DVD in Spain by Filmax.

In 1974 Polanski returned by the large door rolling Chinatown, a film inspired by the classics of film noir, with stellar appearances of Jack nicholson, faye dunaway and john huston. The film was a worldwide hit and won 11 nominations for the Oscars, which would get just one, as well as other numerous awards.

In 1975 he began to prepare the filming of pirates with Jack Nicholson, invest much of their own money in the preparation. And finally no major film producer became interested in the project, Polanski is forced to abandon it, so he went to France, where supported by the multinational, starts filming the chimerical tenant (the tenant), a psychological ‘thriller’ perhaps the work Summit of Polish director and himself acting as protagonist. As the French authorities aimed to present the film at the Cannes film festival, Polanski was forced to carry out the project at high speed with what passed only eight months since the script was written until the movie premiered.

The chimerical tenant premiered in 1976, failed at the Cannes festival and received malísimas reviews. It was a tremendous flop commercial and curiously, today it has become the favorite of many of his followers, film is one of the most personal of Polanski and more twisted mixing is masterful horror with black humor.

In 1977 Polanski, again in the United States.UU., was accused of having had sexual intercourse with a girl of thirteen years. The event occurred that Polanski was responsible for some pictures the young for a magazine. During the realization of these both were at home of Jack nicholson, who was then Anjelica Huston, partner in a jacuzzi with alcohol and drugs. He left the country while released on bail and after a few months in prison in Chinese (Los Angeles), providing a condemns major. Never again set foot on American soil.

Accusations of sexual abuse

In 1977, at age 43, Polanski, was involved in a scandal with Samantha Gailey (later Samantha Geimer ), 13 years of age. According to Samantha Gailey, Polanski was the home of Jack nicholson in mulholland Drive to photograph for Vogue magazine. Gailey said that Polanski gave champagne and methaqualone, took photos with bare chest and then took her to a jacuzzi, where he had sexual intercourse consenting, but then Gailey said he refused orally several times.

Polanski was accused of sexual abuse to a child after the use of drugs, perversion and sodomy, as well as administration of drugs to a less than fourteen years. These charges were attenuated under the terms of his plea bargain (trading on the American legal system between the Prosecutor and the accused by which the Prosecutor access to limit their charges or penalties that ask whether the accused recognized guilty of certain charges) and pleaded guilty of the lesser charge of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor. Polanski was sentenced to a period of 90 days in a State prison detention in first to make a psychiatric assessment in deciding his final sentence, but they gave permission for another 90 days to complete your pending project. According to the terms of the judgment was given permission to travel abroad. Polanski returned to California and was submitted for evaluation in the State prison for Chinese, which was released after 42 days. February 1, 1978 Polanski flew to London, where he had a residence. The next day he went to France, country it had and still has the nationality, thus avoiding the risk of being extradited to the United States by the United Kingdom, since according to the extradition treaty between France and the United States, France can refuse to extradite their citizens, as it did in this case.  Since then he has lived in France and Poland and has avoided visiting countries where probably could be extradited, the United Kingdom.

Polanski hasn’t set foot on United States or United Kingdom. Did not attend, for example, the 2002 Oscars ceremony, won an Academy Award for best director by The pianist, and shot Oliver Twist in Prague with British actors.

September 26, 2009, Polanski was arrested in Zurich Airport by the country authorities refer, at the request of United States for the Open event of the year 1978.

Exile in Europe and Emmanuelle Seigner

In 1979, after an intense shooting more than year and a half in France, Polanski released Tess, based on the novel by Thomas Hardy, time with nastassja kinski as a protagonist. Dedicated film to his deceased wife Sharon Tate (with a simple ‘ To Sharon’), who gave the novel Polanski alongside other belongings on the last day were rather than return the actress to Los Angeles. “We can make a fascinating film with this book” told at that time. Tess was one of the biggest hits of his career, making several Golden Globes and being nominated 6 statuettes at the Oscars, which achieved three. Note by the own Polanski with Tess would achieve the Summit of his career, while the director intended make it giving the role protagonist to the own Sharon.

Recognized as one of the greatest conductors of the history of cinema, Polanski took a break as film director for six years. In that time wrote his autobiography Roman by Polanski (1985), which shows clearly that it has not yet overcome the death of his wife.

In 1986 he returned with pirates, project which was intended to have shot ten years ago inspired by pirates movies and, without Jack Nicholson as the main character was, as predicted production companies ten years ago, a commercial failure.

Two years later, aged 55, returned to the genre of thriller with an American production filmed in France: frantic, with harrison Ford and what would be the future wife of Polanski in 1989, emmanuelle seigner, of 22 years. Frantic worked very well commercially and allowed the Director delve into more obscure topics concerning the relationship in gall moons, their next album, again with Emmanuelle Seigner as actor Peter Coyote and hugh grant. The film premiered in 1992 and without being considered the best of the Filmography of Polanski, exceeds the work of the director during the 1980s and 1990s.


In 1993, with nearly 60 years, was born his first daughter, Morgane, from his marriage with emmanuelle seigner. In 1994 he released the death and the maiden (based on the book of the same name by Ariel dorfman) with sigourney weaver as protagonist. The tape was a both moderate success of criticism. In 1998 was born his second son, Elvis.

After leaving a film project with john travolta in 1996 by disagreements with the actor, in 1999 Polanski filmed the ninth gate, adapted from original form Arturo Pérez-Reverte club Dumas novel and gave the role starring Johnny Depp. The film, although it was a commercial success, earned the status of one of the worst movies of Polanski from critics.

It was in 1999 that Polanski delved into musical theatre with germano-austriaca production Tanz der Vampire (based on the film by Polanski, with libretto by Michael Kunze and set to music by the famous jim steinman). This version was starring the late actor Steve Barton. The musical was a success, achieving a great season in Vienna (Austria) and then being mounted on some German cities such as Stuttgart, Hamburg and Berlin. It has also recently released the version of Polish music, personally directed by Polanski. The musical was a U.S. version: Dance of the Vampires, which despite having a large budget did not capture the original sense of the German version. The result was a ridiculous comedy with a translation/adaptation rather mediocre English, which was a resounding failure not reaching even hundred functions.

Should also be stressed its role as an actor in the film A pure formality, which plays a police inspector who tries to discover a case with Gérard depardieu as suspect. The film was shot entirely in a grim police station.

Twenty-first centuryIn 2002 received the Palme d’Or the 55.ª Edition of the festival of Cannes, highest award of the contest, for the film the pianist, adaptation of memoirs of władysław szpilman, Polish Jewish pianist who survived the Nazi massacres with the help of a German officer. In the 75 Oscar Edition, pianist received three awards; best actor (adrien brody), best original screenplay (Ronald Harwood) and best director for Polanski, that did not attend the ceremony as fugitive American justice.

Polanski released (December 2005 in Spain) Oliver Twist (2005), a film that was identified. In 2007 it was preparing for a new turn in his career with the adaptation of the novel “Pompeii” of Robert harris. Beyond its control delays forced him to resign in September 2007 after several years devoted to the project.

In February 2009 Polanski began in Berlin filming the ghost, which also includes sequences filmed in Studio Babelsberg, Potsdam (Brandenburg), the same studies where filmed the pianist as well on the Island of Sylt. Polanski has also written the screenplay, adapted from the novel by writer Robert harris English, distributed in Spain under the title the power in the shade. Account with the picture of the Polish operator Pawel Edelman, the same of the pianist and Oliver Twist, in addition to their usual producers: Robert Benmussa, Timothy Burrill and Alain Sarde. The actors are Irish pierce brosnan and ewan mcgregor Scottish. And as secondary English Olivia williams, kim cattrall and tom wilkinson, as well as Americans timothy hutton and James belushi, among others. The producer is Summit International. The Ghost premiered at Germany on February 18, 2010. According to the German newspaper Märkische Allgemeine, Polanski spoke of the film to the press in Filmmuseum Potsdam, February 19, 2009.

However he was arrested suddenly on Saturday 26 September 2009 in Zurich on charges of sexual abuse that weighed on him in the United States since 1977, which weighed a warrant of arrest against him. Polanski had been invited by the Zurich Film Festival.

For this reason could not be present at the prize for Best Director, which was granted on February 20, 2010 at the Berlin Festival for his film The ghost writer. The film premiered at Spain as a writer, 26 March, with excellent reviews of generalist and specialist press.

12 July 2010, the Minister of Justice Switzerland, eveline widmer-schlumpf, announced that Switzerland not extraditaría Polanski, considering that the US authorities had not proven that filmmaker would have failed already all the sentence imposed in his day to 42 days in a psychiatric institution. This decision ended house arrest suffered the filmmaker.

July 14, 2010 Polanski confirmed that it would take to film a savage God, play by French author of Sephardic Jewish yasmina Reza. Polanski and Reza wrote together the first version of the script during the household Disturbia in Gastaad, Switzerland.

FilmographyAs a producer

* Bitter Moon (1992)

As director

* Rower (short, 1955)

* Usmiech zebiczny (short, 1957)

* Rozbijemy zabawe… (short, 1957)

* Morderstwo (short, 1957)

* Two men with a wardrobe (short, 1958)

* Lamp 1959 (short)

* Gdy spadają anioły 1959 (short)

* The Laurel and Hardy (1961)

* Knife in the water (1962)

* Ssaki (short, 1963)

* Les plus belles escroqueries du monde (1964, only one episode)

* Repulsion (1965)

* Impasse (1966)

* The dance of the vampires (1967)

* Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

* Cinema Different 3 (1970)

* Macbeth (1971)

* What? (1973)

* Chinatown (1974)

* Le tenant (1976)

* Tess (1979)

* Pirates (1986)

* Frantic (1988)

* Bitter Moon (1992)

* Death and the maiden (1994)

* The Ninth Gate (1999)

* The pianist (2001)

* Oliver Twist (2005)

* To each his cinema (2007)

* The writer (2010)

As a writer    * Lamp (1959)

* Gdy spadają anioły (1959)

* Knife in the water (1962)

* Aimez-vous les femmes? (1964)

* Les plus belles escroqueries du monde (1964)

* Repulsion (1965)

* Impasse (1966)

* A Taste for Women (1966)

* The dance of the vampires (1967)

* Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

* Fille d’ face (1968)    * A Day at the Beach (1970)

* Cinema Different 3 (1970)

* Macbeth (1971)

* What? (1973)

* The tenant (1976)

* Tess (1979)

* Pirates (1986)

* Frantic (1988)

* Bitter Moon (1992)

* The Ninth Gate (1999)

As an actor

* Generation (Pokolenie, 1954)

* End of the night (Koniec nocy, 1957)

* Lotna (1959)

* Gdy spadają anioły (1959)

* Do widzenia, do jutra (1960)

* The dance of the vampires (1967)

* The Magic Christian (1969)

* Blood for Dracula (1973)

* What? (1973)

* Chinatown (1974)

* The tenant (1976)

* Back in the USSR (1991)

* A pure formalità (1994)

* Grosse fatigue (1994)

* Peak 3 (2007)

* Calm chaos (2008)

Awards and nominations

Academy Awards

Year       Category              Film        Result

2002       Best director      The pianist          Winner

1980       Best director      Tess       Candidate

1974       Best director      Chinatown          Candidate

1968       Best adapted screenplay              Rosemary’s Baby              Candidate

Golden Globe Awards

Year       Category              Film        Result

1980       Best director      Tess       Candidate

1974       Best director      Chinatown          Winner

1968       Best screenplay                Rosemary’s Baby              Candidate

Goya Awards

Year       Category              Film        Result2002          Best European film          The pianist          Winner

Cannes Film Festival

Year       Category              Film        Result

2002       Palme   The pianist          Winner

1976       Palme   Le tenant             Candidate