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Polanski Speaks, Sarno Dies, Woody Slams Beatty

The Auteurs Daily

"I can now remain silent no longer!" The exclamation precedes eight points in a statement Roman Polanski has released via Bernard-Henri Lévy's La Règle du Jeu, breaking the silence he'd maintained since his arrest in Switzerland last September. He argues, in short, that he's confessed to the crime and served the time. Leave him be.

More substantively: "On February 26 last, Roger Gunson, the deputy district attorney in charge of the case in 1977, now retired, testified under oath before Judge Mary Lou Villar in the presence of David Walgren, the present deputy district attorney in charge of the case, who was at liberty to contradict and question him, that on September 16, 1977, Judge [Laurence J] Rittenband stated to all the parties concerned that my term of imprisonment in Chino constituted the totality of the sentence I would have to serve." Rittenband's "reversal" has "justified my leaving the United States."

The statement "may ease Polanski's internal sense of unease," writes Steven Zeitchik in the Los Angeles Times blog 24 Frames. "What it won't do is change minds. In fact, the comments are just likely to harden them." As if to prove his point, David Poland lambasts the director in an open letter: "You live in a delusion.... You must face the court."


JOE SARNO, 1921 - 2010

"Joseph W Sarno, the cult director of Sin in the Suburbs, Moonlighting Wives and other films that helped establish the sexploitation genre and break down the taboos against erotic content in American cinema, died on April 26 in Manhattan," reports William Grimes in the New York Times. "He was 89. The death was confirmed by Michael J Bowen, who is writing his biography."

Alternative Cinema News runs statements from Bowen and Pop Cinema's Michael Raso and notes that "his work has been the subject of retrospectives at the New York Underground Film Festival, the Lake Placid Film Festival, The Vienna Filmmuseum, The Cinemateque Francais, The Turin Film Festival, The Alamo Draft House, the British Film Institute and the Warhol Museum."


"Joe Sarno did his best to bring class to smut throughout the 60s, in a string of 'middle-class depravity' exposés that turned low budgets into assets," wrote Noel Murray at the AV Club in 2004. "The director's locations and casts looked authentically shabby, and because Sarno didn't have to worry about playing Radio City Music Hall, his films possessed a bracing frankness about what frustrates people, sexually and otherwise. That frankness doesn't equate to realism, however. Something Weird Video has put four Sarno films on two special-edition, double-feature DVDs, and in all of them, the characters' earnestness only makes the tone more lurid."

"[H]e sent his biggest shock waves through the genre with the 1968 release Inga, which introduced Marie Liljedahl and commenced a whole series of films shot in Sweden, where he and his assistant wife Peggy (who, as Peggy Steffans, had starred in the 1963 Adolphus Mekas film Hallelujah the Hills) 'vacationed' every summer," writes Tim Lucas. "I first discovered Sarno's work at the drive-in during the 1970s, and I knew it was different and important then. Andrew Sarris recognized Sarno's value nearly a decade earlier, praising it in the pages of the Village Voice."

More from James Newman (Images), Mondo Digital and Wikipedia; and there's a discussion on in the Forum.



As if to complete an unholy trinity on the sordid sin of the 60s and 70s, the New Yorker runs a "Shouts & Murmurs" column by Woody Allen, who's been reading Star: How Warren Beatty Seduced America and has stumbled over Peter Biskind's infamous calculation that, in the course of his lifetime, Beatty has slept with "12,775 women, give or take" — and he "could not help imagining the following account of one gal's irresistible swoon into the Guinness Book." That account "practically amounts to a drone attack," as James Wolcott puts it: "If only Woody's script for Whatever Works had had this much vavoom!"

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Sin in the Suburbs looks like a lot of fun!

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