Polanski, Roman

Polanski, Roman
born Aug. 18, 1933, Paris, France

Polish-French film director.

He grew up in Poland and survived a traumatic wartime childhood under the Nazis. His first feature film, Knife in the Water (1962), brought him international fame. He left Poland that year for Britain, where he made Repulsion (1965), and later the U.S., where his Rosemary's Baby (1968) was highly successful. In 1969 his new wife, the actress Sharon Tate, was murdered by followers of Charles Manson. He directed a graphic adaptation of Macbeth (1971) and the acclaimed film noir Chinatown (1974). In 1977 Polanski was arrested and eventually pleaded guilty to a charge of statutory rape. He subsequently jumped bail and fled to France, where he remained active in both the theatre and motion pictures. His subsequent films include Tess (1979), Frantic (1988), Bitter Moon (1992), Death and the Maiden (1994), and The Pianist (2002), which won the Gold Palm for best film at the Cannes International Film Festival and earned a best director Academy Award for Polanski.

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▪ 2004

      Although motion picture director Roman Polanski had long been revered by critical moviegoers for his innovative, generally macabre and suspenseful films and had won numerous awards over the years, many proclaimed that with his direction of his 2002 film, The Pianist, he had created the film he was born to make. The tale of a Jewish pianist's struggle to stay alive during the Nazi occupation of Warsaw during World War II, it also was reflective of the horrors he himself had endured in order to survive those years. In 2003 the film won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival and three Academy Awards, including the best director award. Polanski was unable to accept his Oscar in person, however; in 1978 he had left the U.S. to avoid sentencing for statutory rape, and he was in danger of arrest if he returned to the country.

      Polanski was born Raimund Liebling on Aug. 18, 1933, in Paris and when he was three moved with his parents to Krakow, Pol. When the Nazis took over, the family was moved into the ghetto. Polanski escaped, but his parents were later imprisoned in a concentration camp, where his mother died. After living with various Roman Catholic families and sometimes on his own, he was reunited with his father after the war and began studies at a technical school. He had already done some acting, and in the 1950s he appeared on the stage and in movies and enrolled in the State School of Cinema in Lodz to study directing. One of his student films, Dwaj ludzie z szafa (1958; Two Men and a Wardrobe), won five international awards, but it was his first full-length feature, the psychological thriller Noz w wodzie (1962; Knife in the Water), winner of the Critics Prize at the Venice Film Festival, that established his reputation. The films that followed—among them Repulsion (1965), Cul-de-sac (1966), Rosemary's Baby (1968), and Chinatown (1974)—furthered his renown. Later motion pictures included Tess (1979), Frantic (1988), and Death and the Maiden (1995), and he also directed a number of stage plays and operas in Europe. For a change of pace, Polanski was was scheduled to begin directing a family film, a new adaptation of Charles Dickens's Oliver Twist, in 2004, for a 2005 release.

      Polanski, whose second wife, actress Sharon Tate, was one of the murder victims of the Charles Manson gang in 1969, published an autobiography, Roman, in 1984.

Barbara Whitney

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▪ Polish film director
born August 18, 1933, Paris, France
 motion-picture director, scriptwriter, and actor who, through a variety of film genres, explored themes of isolation, desire, and absurdity.

      Shortly after the young Polanski's family settled in Kraków, Poland, his parents were interned in a Nazi concentration camp, where his mother died. Polanski escaped internment and survived the war years by finding occasional refuge with Catholic families and often fending for himself. At age 14 he appeared on the stage, later acting in films directed by Andrzej Wajda (Wajda, Andrzej), the leading figure in the Polish film revival of the 1950s. Polanski studied directing at the State School of Cinema in Łódź. By the time he graduated in 1959, he had already directed several award-winning short films. He made the French film Le Gros et le maigre (1961; The Fat and the Lean) and then returned to Poland to direct his first full-length feature, Nóż w wodzie (1962; Knife in the Water), a tense psychological study of sexual rivalry that brought him international fame.

  After he left Poland in 1962, Polanski made several major films in Great Britain and the United States. Repulsion (1965) traces the psychotic breakdown of a young woman whose fear and loathing of sex drive her to commit several murders. The dark comedies Cul-de-Sac (1966) and The Fearless Vampire Killers, or Pardon Me but Your Teeth Are in My Neck (1967) followed. Rosemary's Baby (1968) is a thriller about a young New York City wife who unwittingly bears a child by the devil. Polanski's second wife, the Hollywood actress Sharon Tate, was pregnant when she was brutally murdered (along with four others) by Charles Manson (Manson, Charles) and his acolytes in 1969. The violence of her death influenced his next film, Macbeth (1971), a gory yet artistically effective adaptation of the play by William Shakespeare. Chinatown (1974) reinvigorated the moribund film noir genre. These films were notable for their careful buildup of mood and suspense, their subtle handling of human psychology, and their fascination with evil in its various forms.

      In 1977 Polanski was arrested and eventually pleaded guilty to a charge of unlawful intercourse with a minor. He subsequently jumped bail and fled to France, where he remained active in both the theatre and motion pictures. His subsequent films include Tess (1979), based on Thomas Hardy's novel Tess of the D'Urbervilles, Frantic (1988), a suspense film, Bitter Moon (1992), an erotic comedy, and Death and the Maiden (1994), a psychological drama adapted from a play by the Chilean author Ariel Dorfman. In 1989 Polanski married the French actress Emmanuelle Seigner, who starred in Frantic, Bitter Moon, and the 1999 mystery The Ninth Gate. The Pianist (2002), which tells the true story of Władyslaw Szpilman's survival of the Nazi-occupation of Poland during World War II, shared much in common with Polanski's own childhood experience and earned the Palme d'Or at the Cannes International Film Festival and a best director Oscar for Polanski. He followed that with Oliver Twist in 2005.

      Polanski's autobiography, Roman, was published in 1984.

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Universalium. 2010.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • POLANSKI, ROMAN — (Liebling; 1933– ), film director, writer, and actor. Born in Paris, Polanski went to Poland with his parents at the age of three. During World War II, he managed to escape the ghetto, while his parents were sent to a concentration camp, where… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Polański, Roman — (1933 )    Internationally acclaimed film and theater director, screenwriter, actor, and film producer. Polański was born in Paris to a family of Polonized Jews who returned to Poland two years before World War II. He survived the war by escaping …   Guide to cinema

  • Polanski, Roman — (Raymond Polanski / August 18, 1933, Paris, France )    He was born to Polish Jewish parents who returned to Poland and settled in Cracow in 1936. In 1939, his family was arrested by the Nazis. His mother died in a concentration camp, and his… …   Encyclopedia of French film directors

  • Polanski, Roman — ► (n. 1933) Director cinematográfico polaco. Películas: Cul de Sac (1966), El baile de los vampiros (1967), La semilla del diablo (1968), La muerte y la doncella (1994), La novena puerta (1999) El pianista (2002), entre otras. * * * (n. 18 ago.… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Polanski, Roman — pseud. di Polanski, Raymond …   Sinonimi e Contrari. Terza edizione

  • Polanski, Roman —    см. Поланский, Роман …   Режиссерская энциклопедия. Кино США

  • Polanski — Polanski, Roman …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Roman Polański — (2011) Roman Raymond Polański[1] (* 18. August 1933 in Paris; eigentlich Rajmund Roman Liebling) ist ein polnischer[2] …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Roman Polański — Roman Polanski Pour les articles homonymes, voir Polanski. Roman Polański …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Roman Liebling — Roman Polański (* 18. August 1933 in Paris, Frankreich als Rajmund Roman Liebling) ist ein polnischer[1] Filmregisseur, Drehbuchautor und Schauspieler, der 1975 die französische Staatsbürgerschaft annahm.[2] …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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