Salut, Roman Polanski, de B.-H. Levy – Huffington Post – 02/21/2010

logo huffingtonThis is a festival that, contrary to the Zurich Festival, did not turn into a disaster for Roman Polanski. It is the Berlin International Film Festival, and Polanski has just been awarded the Silver Bear for his film The Ghost Writer.

I have said, time and again, that it is Polanski the man who counts, not the artist. I have said so many times here that we would have defended him in the same way had he been, not Polanski, but just an individual « of no importance to the community ». I have repeated, over and over, that, far from protecting him, his celebrity, talent, and genius weigh him down as the source of this bundle of suspicions and crimes that would not exist for anyone else.

Nevertheless, for me, this is extraordinary news, and it proves two things. First, that there are still men and women of honor — the jury of the Berlin Festival — who refuse to be intimidated by the mob and who, when presented with a masterpiece, still dare to call it a masterpiece. It is also proof that there are those who, by nature, refuse to be intimidated by the pack that snaps at their heels, convinced it has cornered and defeated them. Roman Polanski is of just such a nature.

I was privileged to have seen Roman Polanski complete this film. In the space of a few hours, I watched him refine a cut at a distance, correct a calibration without actually seeing it, or reinvent a look or a color of the sky from the depths of his prison. Well, this Silver Bear represents the victory of his courage. It is the splendid approval of an amazing and uncommon spirit of resistance.

To all the bastards who thought they had buried him, to the horde of masked or unmasked avengers who dreamed of seeing him buried alive behind an updated iron mask, to all those who wanted to forget him and wanted him forgotten by the entire world, this act recalls a basic truth: an artist is a rock; he is indestructible; at the end of the day, the artist, not the mob, always has the last word.

Cheers, Roman my friend. I am deeply moved.

Bernard-Henri Lévy

Translation by Janet Lisop

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