Jonathan Yardley on ‘Polanski’: The complex life of a longtime exile from Hollywood

From The Washington Post:

Polanski Now in his mid-70s, Roman Polanski seems finally to have slowed down a bit. He lives in France with his wife, Emmanuelle Seigner, and their two children, to whom he apparently is devoted. According to Christopher Sandford, who has also written several biographies of rock musicians, people who know him “insist that Polanski is ‘almost ludicrously mild-mannered,’ ‘nearly teetotal’ and even an ‘occasional churchgoer.’ ” The “top moment” of his day, he has said, comes when he drops his children off at school: “It’s the best. It’s great to see them walking away into this school. It’s a moving moment.”

As if to underscore his autumnal mood, three years ago Polanski released his 17th film, an adaptation of Charles Dickens’s “Oliver Twist” that is surprisingly mellow, even sentimental, perhaps because he is believed to have made it for his children. It was released only three years after “The Pianist,” one of the three films of his that rank among postwar classics — the others being “Knife in the Water” (1962) and “Chinatown” (1974) — and the one that brought him, at last, an Academy Award, and, with it, something approximating the acceptance and forgiveness of his peers.

Nobody who pays even the slightest attention to the headlines needs to be told that the past decade or so of Polanski’s life stands in stark, even startling, contrast to much of the rest of it.

More here.