Polanski caught up with his "J'accuse"

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As had already done with a glacial sumptuousness The Ghost Writer, I accuse, in a more minor way, only one thing: the truth is simple, it is his research that is complicated. The film is about showing how was restored the honor scorned Captain Dreyfus and justice to the man who knew how to innocent him at the price of betraying his. Another traitor "from the inside".

Three weeks ago, it was the protagonist of the great Bellocchio film, the traitor. In two weeks on Netflix, it will be the treachery of the henchman of Jimmy Hoffa, syndicalist and mafia, in the film sober and boring of Martin Scorsese, The Irishman. Three works of renowned filmmakers, three figures of men who offer glimpses, unequal between them, of a desire for truth, revealed by moral conscience, insubordination or disobedience, by breaking the law of silence and the condition to betray his environment, his family.

Read also"I'm accusing": on the screen, a double-edged trial

It is in the middle of all this, these films of men, and our beautiful coherence film lovers who like nothing so much as subsume the past year in salient and recurring themes, that Adèle Haenel, November 4, spoke about . And in this warning shot, which was represented by the actress's speech, the necessary treachery of her environment was heard to the measure of her veracity. It has undermined the well-kept silence that it breaks, too, "from the inside". Since then, the planets have aligned themselves we do not know by what beautiful aberration, forces and coincidences joined forces to prevent us, critics with the white hands, to treat serenely the exit of I accuse in theaters – his evaluation as a more or less good film whose comment should be content. We can always act as if, but we must contort a lot now, or put a lot of stubborn disdain, to pretend that nothing is happening next – and in it.

Expected fresco

For what Polanski, enjoying all the support just or unjustifiable imaginable, could definitely expect is that his film, his body defending, ultimately represents the most brilliant defense of the approach of the young actress. By a clever trick of the news, I accuse is taken backward from all that, more or less unacknowledged, he strives to restore, the washed honor and the dignity of the filmmaker, by a historico-metaphorical jump in the old days, revisited under this half-day austere, and oblique enough to be negated if necessary – not to see anything, what an idea, the film is in no way an attempt to rehabilitate the filmmaker by himself, via the figure par excellence, Hitchcockienne, the false culprit, of Dreyfus, or through the innocence persecuted by the ideology of the time, what are you going to look for there, ladies and gentlemen?

Finally, everything was set like music paper, it was spinning soft, the expected fresco of Polanski on the Dreyfus affair he sought to achieve for years, a halo of his grand prize at the Venice Film Festival and the controversy that its presentation in competition had not failed to provoke: the president of the jury, Lucrecia Martel, after having questioned the presence of Polanski in competition, did not object to that it is given the price – but the second , not the first, the golden lion returning to Joker. Good performance, such appeared the work of quality, dressed to the nines and populated by the cameos of our most eminent actors of the Comédie-Française. Prestigious film, the thing was heard: Dreyfus was not supposed to be worth as self-portrait hollow of Polanski – or so if, but indirectly, in analogy of the Jewish victim of the anti-Semitic barbarism, and not of the probable victim of a judicial error, of a crime that a lynchous society would always want to make him pay. Yet we agree, it is indeed Roman Polanski that we speak, that is to say, a filmmaker whose one of the essential reasons and cinematographic subjects is precisely the persecution. The other being the imposture.

The part of indirect self-portrait, of confession of author, can be conceived consequently to the only noble sense, "novel-esque" and edifying, of the correct, authorized biography. However, the idea of ​​making the connection with the shadowy part of an artist who tries in some way to get rid of himself by the fiction that he combines, would be a disgusting, terrible inconvenience. It almost happened like that, the blackmail returned, the wrath foreshadowed the proponents of the detached author of the man – except the spotless image or in any case heroic that they sometimes agree to see reflected.

What no one could have guessed, then, is how it started to sound loud and rumbling since last week. To the determination never seen of Adèle Haenel to fall masks, was added, in this formidable and fierce timing, the publication in the Parisian a substantiated investigation that again involves the filmmaker in a case of rape, whose accuser, Valentine Monnier, argues precisely that it is this title, I accuse, she was treated as the ultimate naughty offense, which finally decided her to speak, forty years later, when the facts are prescribed. She is the first French woman and the sixth woman to blame Polanski in this way, for rape or sexual assault, allegedly committed between 1972 and 1983.

Awesome Timing

What seems a bit unfortunate, to the point where we are, but not definitive, is the way that this has given the leading role to the renowned artist, to the creator again, while Haenel, in his moment of Thanks suspended, had managed to monopolize all the attention by its fame alone and its unique strength, attention diverted for once from the star criminal, who was not even the foil, or the probable punching-ball of a supposed popular court and media. Polanski is again the name sensation to the front of the stage, Haenel momentarily passed relative relative, here we are again in the midst of the same furious caricatures, insults in rage of some and the haughty denials of others. Jean Dujardin preferred to pass his turn and cancel his intervention to the newspaper of 20 hours for the promotion of the film of which he is the main actor: it turns out that the actor, having played alongside Adèle Haenel this year, in the deer Quentin Dupieux, said last week at the microphone of France Inter that he supported the actress to whom he said his esteem, which he perceived fragility and underground anger. The comedian, who is heavily invested in Haenel's side and yet has been responsible for promoting the Polanski, is obviously entangled in the tumult – and embarrassment.

The ceremonial costume of quality French cinema seems to disintegrate, like a snag that one pulls by unknowingly unraveling the whole sweater. The ceremony of the Caesars, if it is maintained, it promises. Let us add that Polanski decided in his film to make a furtive appearance, in academician's green coat. Did he see himself already covered with laurels by all his peers, at the end fair and grateful, thanks to this film? It's compromised now, or it will creak. The supreme irony, the joke, in the current mini-earthquake, is that I accuse Unwitting Adèle Haenel's comments, and better, forging the best defense to the actress, this time as "the aesthetic" or the intellectual artist.

To the remarks and denunciations of the multitude concerning its decision to reveal what it experienced and suffered by the press, instead of relying on the institutions supposed to protect it, to justice, the film opposes its chosen title, which since does not sound any more as expected. So it is with Lieutenant-Colonel Picquart, who clashes with his military hierarchy, La Grande Muette, in a steep crossing of a gallery of anti-Semitic ruffians and political ruffians – until he decides to desert and betray the truth: the decisive scene in which the film lingers, the entry into scene of Emile Zola in an assembly of "leftists" Dreyfusards and viveurs. For Haenel, as for Picquart, who failed to restore the truth according to the protocol, the authorities to whom he was supposed to report, as sure of their impunity as of their voluptuousness "Administrative ecstasy" – the expression is Dostoevsky – is an article in the press that, placarded everywhere, will expose everything, in the beard of the courts, the police and army officers.

It's like this: Zola's "J'accuse …!" On the first page of dawn, radiates an identical brilliance to Haenel's public accusation in the columns of Mediapart. In the same way as her appearance the next day in a long live on the site, where she came back on her request in full festival of La Roche-sur-Yon "Mentor" the projection of Polanski's film, in the light of feminist advances and contemporary gender issues. It is the same thing, echoing deafened a few days later, the forum and the investigation by the Parisian alongside the ex-actress and current photographer, Valentine Monnier.

Radical revolt

Zola justifies Haenel. It had to be in a film by Polanski, a work of cinema abruptly overtaken and immediately confiscated by the news. The hottest theater of events has been echoed, for once, not by social networks with balanced revenge hashtag, but by this good old media that no one believes, the daily press, in the columns of a platform and thanks to the work of committed investigative journalism. Then, a cinematographic fiction of exercise of the truth comes, in an incredible paradox and a pirouette, to crown the well-foundedness of the step of radical revolt of the actress.

I accuse, the film authenticates and justifies Adele Haenel. The film, on the other hand, is of no help to the man or the artist, to his posterity of author whom he had perhaps premeditated. This is the exact opposite that takes place, and Polanski's film signals the triumph of a whole other truth than expected, unimaginable before it arose a week ago: that of the powerful woman, that upsets the routine of things and our habits. Because it is she who accuses this time, a hundred and twenty years later: Adele Haenel.

Camille Nevers

(tagsToTranslate) Adèle Haenel (t) J

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