Venice 2023: Roman Polanski disappoints

In the era of #MeToo, every appearance of Roman Polanski in cinema sparks controversy. A few years ago, when the film “An Officer and a Spy” was included in the Venice competition, Lucrezia Martel, chair of the jury, expressed her surprise at the first press conference. But the movie was so interesting, Polanski won the Grand Jury Prize. This year, even the critics of the most important film magazines wrote that Mostra’s program includes films by three artists accused of sexual harassment: Polanski, Woody Allen and Luc Besson. The festival’s artistic director has defended himself: Luc Besson was recently acquitted by a French court, and Woody Allen was never brought to trial. Polanski? It’s a more difficult name to defend. The distinguished director was expelled from the American and French Film Academy, and to this day his case has not been closed despite the settlement with the victim. Polanski is not allowed to enter the United States, nor does he come to Italy for fear of extradition. But even here Alberto Barbera refutes the attacks: “I am not interested in the private lives of artists. I rate movies.”

The problem is that Polanski’s new movie is a complete flop. A disgusting and vulgar tale, satire on the most primal level.

It’s the last day of 1999. Regulars flock to an elegant hotel in the Swiss city of Gstaad to welcome the 21st century. financial elite? maybe. Except that everyone from an aging porn star to a wrinkly French parasol with a pet dog to an old millionaire with a fat, vulgar but young wife are all the same fools here. To this we must add a group of Russians who are listening to Boris Yeltsin’s speech handing over power to Putin, and who, in cooperation with the Russian ambassador to Switzerland, are carrying out massive financial frauds. Naturally, they are surrounded by Russian supermodels who are hungry for luxury and wealth, despite their shamelessness.

What is the conclusion? Nothing at all. Roman Polanski didn’t make this movie so much terrified of the world as full of disdain. He did not bring a single respectable person to the screen. Even as they get stuck in the hotel, the poor newcomers from the Czech Republic are no counterweight here. Not to mention the Polish plumber who, at the invitation of the old Marquis, at four in the morning, according to the contract, appears at the door of her room to “clean the pipe.” All the jokes in the film are on the same level, although it must be said that the creators outdid themselves when the young wife was unable to free herself from her husband’s penis that froze inside her, when the old man could not bear the hardships of sex and a dose of Viagra and died at the least appropriate moment, Smiling, his eyes bulging.

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