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Roman Polanski looks back on his childhood during the Holocaust in new documentary



Franco-Polish director Roman Polanski revisits “horror” during his childhood during the Shoah in a new documentary dedicated to him, presented on Sunday May 30 at the Krakow film festival in Poland. The film, titled Polanski, Horowitz. Hometown, follows Roman Polanski in this city where he lived as a child, in the company of his lifelong friend, the photographer Ryszard Horowitz, survivor of the Holocaust, whom he met in the Jewish ghetto of Krakow during the war.

The film “Polanski, Horowitz. Hometown”, which opened the festival, is about “memory, confrontation with the past, ephemeral, trauma, fate“, explains Mateusz Kudla, who directed and produced the film with Anna Kokoszka-Romer.”Through these two characters who were lucky, who survived, we also wanted to show the tragedy of all those who lived in the Krakow ghetto and never left it.“, he explains to AFP.

The director of Pianist remembers seeing a German Nazi officer shooting an elderly woman in the back, and blood squirting like water from a fountain. “I was terrified, I ran to the door behind me (…) and hid behind those stairs“Says the filmmaker, who was only six years old when World War II broke out.”It was my first encounter with horrorThe film also immortalizes Roman Polanski’s meeting with the grandson of Stefania and Jan Buchala, the Polish peasant couple who hid him for almost two years in the village of Wysoka, in the south of the country.

Smuggled out of the ghetto, by the care of his father, little Roman had passed from family to family before meeting with the Buchala, who posthumously received in October 2020 the medal of “Righteous Among the Nations” awarded by Israel to those who helped save Jews during WWII.

The documentary does not mention the rape charges against Roman Polanski, persona non grata in Hollywood. “That was not the point of the film, nor was it our intention to defend or accuse anyone. This film is devoted to a completely different chapter in the life of Roman Polanski“Anna Kokoszka-Romer told AFP.

Mateusz Kudla asks viewers to consider the possibility that “perhaps, in this case, Polanski did the right thing by testifying (on the Shoah) to keep history from repeating itself“.



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