Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Don't Do As Roman Do

I’ve been attending the Zurich Film Festival, unfortunately dominated by Roman Polanski getting arrested as he came to town to accept some lifetime achievement award or something. There were some marvelous films too (like Austria’s Small Fish, Israel’s Lost Islands, Australia’s Samson and Delilah and the bizarre P-Star Rising). I got to share the same air space as Morgan Freeman, Michael Keaton, Peter Fonda and Terry Gilliam. This definitely makes me a better person. Definitely. Better than you.

I was hugely impressed by the press facilities here, which like everything else in this sheltered little country was organized with military precision; chocolates in the welcome bag helped, as did free travel on the public transport here.

I was going to put together a Spotify playlist in tribute to Polanski’s plight, but Spotify doesn’t work in Switzerland (unable to commit to anything, these Swiss folk). So here are some songs on YouTube thematically appropriate to the old dog.

That last one is the original of that quite fantastic song. For those of you who prefer gurning white-boy blues from Nottingham there is this:

I don’t know what to think about him (Polanski). On one hand you’ve got behind him Woody Allen, Pedro Almodovar, Penelope Cruz, Martin Scorsese and about a hundred others whose usual cheerleading for ‘liberal’ causes lures in naïve sycophants like me with ease (Jan Kounen, director of Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky, actually withdrew his film from the festival here in protest at Polanski’s incarceration). On the other though, there is the fact that it really was rather a bad thing to do, what he did to that young girl. Insert obvious joke about Woody Allen here.

The argument seems to be that he has already paid for his crime when the girl in question, Samantha Geimer, sued his sorry ass for $500,000 in the eighties. There have apparently been rumours, also, that Switzerland owed the USA a favour over some financial help that went the other way. I don’t know. Either way, I would imagine it’s the first time in RP’s life he would gladly trade places with Letterman.

I rediscovered Imani Coppola recently. Her last album The Black and White Album wasn’t very good. But this song, from 1997, is mighty fine. And her most recent work as part of the duo Little Jackie with Adam Pallin, has been okay too, I guess.

Three songs: ‘Diana’ by Alexander Spence, ‘This Is Africa’ by K’Naan (because of its video) and ‘Love Etc’ by The Pet Shop Boys (also because of its video).

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