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Roman Polanski during the filming of Tess in March 1981, one of the films being shown at the IFI this month. AP Photo

Irish Film Institute highlights Roman Polanski films

Controversial director under the spotlight in January schedule of films as two of his major movies are re-released.

THE IRISH FILM Institute is to showcase films from controversial Oscar-winning director Roman Polanski this month.

The schedule of six of Polanski’s most acclaimed movies will sit alongside the re-releases of his 1974 masterpiece Chinatown and 1965 movie Repulsion. Chinatown opens today and Repulsion on 11 January, both running until 17 January at the Temple Bar cinema. Each of the following will screen for one day only, Knife in the Water (tomorrow); Cul-de-sac (6 Jan); Tess (13 Jan); The Tenant (15 Jan); Rosemary’s Baby (23 Jan); The Pianist (26 Jan).

Polanski’s influence on European and US cinema has spanned several decades, with The Pianist becoming one of his most high-profile releases in 2002. It was nominated for seven Oscars and won three, including one for Best Director and tackled the Holocaust, which Polanski himself survived as a Polish Jewish boy.

Despite the critical and commercial success of many of his movies, the director’s personal life has frequently overshadowed his work. His wife Sharon Tate was a victim of the so-called Manson murders, when she was killed along with six others during a murderous spree by Charles Manson and his acolytes in LA in 1969. Polanski returned to Europe for some years after her death but in 1977 pleaded guilty to the statutory rape of a 13-year-old girl in LA. He lived in exile for three decades, and the US lost a bid to extradite him back for sentencing two years ago.

The IFI told that it was focusing on Polanski’s body of work, and not on his personal life:

As a cultural organisation dedicated to the art of film, the Irish Film Institute’s choice of figures from the history of cinema to showcase is based solely on the individual’s work, and not on their personal lives.

Roman Polanksi’s body of work contains some of cinema’s most iconic films, performances, and images, and providing audiences with the opportunity to see films such as these on the big screen is in keeping with our programming policy.

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