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Roman Polanski

Roman Polanski

18 August 1933, Paris. Roman Polanski's parents returned to Poland from France just two years before the World War II began: both were taken later to concentration camps where his mother eventually died. Young Roman managed to escape the ghetto and learned to survive wandering through the Polish countryside and living with the different Catholic families. Though local people usually ignored cinemas where mostly German films were shown, Polanski seemed not very much concerned about patriotism and frequently went to the movies. In 1945, he reunited with his father who sent him to technical school, but young Polanski seemed to have already made his choice.

Pokolenie (1955) before studying at the Lodz Film School. His early shorts such as Dwaj ludzie z szafa (1958), Le gros et le maigre (1961), and Ssaki (1962) showed his taste for black humor and interest in bizarre human relationships. His feature debut, Nóz w wodzie (1962), was the first Polish post-war film not associated with the war theme. Though being already a major Polish filmmaker, Polanski yet chose to leave the country and headed to France. Being down-and-out in Paris, he befriended young scriptwriter, Gérard Brach, who eventually became his long-time collaborator. The next two films, Repulsion (1965) and Cul-de-sac (1966), made in England and co-written by Brach, won respectively Silver and Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festivals.

In 1968, Polanski went to Hollywood, where he made the psychological thriller Rosemary's Baby (1968). However, after the brutal murder of his wife Sharon Tate by the infamous Manson gang in 1969, the director decided to return to Europe. In 1974, he again appeared with a US release of Chinatown (1974). It seemed the beginning of the promising Hollywood career, but after his conviction for the statutory rape of a 13-year old girl, Polanski fled from America to avoid prison.

Tess (1979) was awarded several Oscars and Cesars. He likes to act in the films of other directors, sometimes with interesting results as it was in Una pura formalità (1994) by Giuseppe Tornatore. The director also stretched his talents to include occasional work in theatre. (

reference companies

Selected filmography

see also: Directors, Scriptwriters, Producers

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