The Cinema of Roman Polanski
The films of Roman Polanski have attracted a world-wide audience and made Polanski himself one of the most well known and best regarded contemporary directors. His acclaim spans from his early experimental films of the 1950s, such as the famous Two Men and a Wardrobe (1958)—directed while he was a second-year-student—to 2002’s The Pianist, winner of the Academy Award for Best Director, and more recently the controversial The Ghost Writer (2010) and claustrophobic Carnage (2011). This course will explore Polanski’s remarkable cosmopolitan oeuvre, which now spans more than five decades. We will focus on Polanski’s most successful films, starting with his experimental Polish shorts, proceeding to his highly acclaimed English production Repulsion, then onto such Hollywood classics as Rosemary’s Baby and Chinatown. We’ll move from there to his post-Hollywood, multi-national > productions, including such films as The Tenant and Frantic, his 1990s films Bitter Moon and Death and the Maiden, and his lauded The Pianist and provocative The Ghost Writer. The course will look into how Polanski’s movies adopt a number of different genres and aesthetic approaches to deal with some of the director’s recurrent themes, such as solitude, victimization, separation from society, and the idiosyncratic worldview of an isolated individual.