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Won't congratulate Polanski, but his film's presence at Venice fest correct: Martel

Press Trust of India  |  Los Angeles 

Filmmaker Lucrecia Martel, the jury president of the 2019 Venice Film Festival, has defended the inclusion of embattled director Roman Polanski's new film in the competition line-up.

"An Officer and a Spy" is directed by Polanski, who fled the US decades ago to avoid jail in a case related to having sex with a minor.

The French-language film features his wife, actor Emmanuelle Seigner alongside Louis Garrel, Jean Dujardin and Mathieu Amalric.

Martel, who was addressing the opening press conference with festival chief Alberto Barbera, was asked about Polanski's film being included in the competition.

According to Deadline, the Argentine filmmaker said she does not "separate the man from the art" as she believes an artiste's work is a reflection of his personal life.

However, Martel said there is a grey area that exists in Polanski's case.

"A man who commits a crime of this size who is then condemned, and the victim considers herself satisfied with the compensation is difficult for me judge... It is difficult to define what is the right approach we have to take with people who have committed certain acts and were judged for them. I think these questions are a part of the debate in our times.

"I will not congratulate him, but I think it is correct that his movie is here at this festival. We have to develop our dialogue with him and this is the best possible place to go on with this type of discussion," she added.

Meanwhile, Barbera continued to defend Polanski's inclusion as he cited the history where many of the artistes who were accused of various crimes are considered revered figures today due to their body of work.

"(I am) convinced that we have to distinguish necessarily between the artiste and the man. The history of art is full of artistes who committed crimes of a different nature, nevertheless we have continued to admire their works of art.

"The same is true for Polanski who is in my opinion one of the last masters still active in European cinema," he said.

"An Officer and a Spy" will premiere on the Lido on Friday.

The film is based on the real-life story of Captain Alfred Dreyfus (Garrel), a French-Jewish soldier accused of spying for the Germans. His trial had become the talk of Paris in the 1890s.

Dujardin stars as Georges Picquart, a counter-espionage officer who manages to prove that Dreyfus was, in fact, innocent after he was convicted.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, August 29 2019. 14:15 IST