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The entire board of the French Oscars, the César Academy, has resigned following backlash over nominations for a film by Roman Polanski and demands for reform.

Roman Polanski’s An Officer and a Spy swept the nomination list for the César awards, sparking calls for a boycott.

The director has been wanted in the US for the statutory rape of a 13-year-old girl since the 1970s.

Hundreds of actors, producers and directors have also called for change.

In an open letter this week, they denounced “dysfunction” at the César Academy and opacity in its management.

Roman Polanski and Bill Cosby Expelled from Motion Picture Academy

Roman Polanski Extradition Rejected by Poland Court

In a statement on February 13, the César Academy said the board had “unanimously decided to resign” to “honor those men and women who made cinema happen in 2019, to find calm and ensure that the festival of film remains just that, a festival”.

The statement added: “This collective decision will allow complete renewal of the board.”

A general meeting is set to be held after this month’s ceremony to elect a new board, which will look at implementing reforms and modernizing the academy.

France’s Culture Minister Franck Riester said the academy must operate democratically, in the spirit of “openness, transparency, parity and diversity”.

The César Academy has faced controversy in recent months.

Many called for a boycott when Roman Polanski’s film An Officer and a Spy, or J’accuse in French, received 12 award nominations. The director fled the US after his rape conviction in the 1970s, and has since faced other accusations of assault.

France’s equality minister and film critics also condemned the decision to nominate the Polish-French director’s film.

However, the Césars defended the nominations, arguing that the body “should not take moral positions” in giving awards.

In an open letter this week, hundreds of film professionals, including actors and directors, called for “profound reform” at the academy.

They complained of a lack of democracy in the institution and said the founding statutes of the Césars had not changed “for a very long time”.

In response, the board said it would ask for a mediator to be appointed by a culture ministry agency to oversee reforms of its statutes and governance.

It is not the first time the Césars have faced controversy over Roman Polanski. In 2017, the director was picked to head the award’s jury, but stepped down after the move sparked outrage.


The US Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has decided to expel TV star Bill Cosby and director Roman Polanski.

The academy – which runs the Oscars – said this was done in accordance with its standards of conduct.

Last month, Bill Cosby was convicted of assault last month. Roman Polanski admitted statutory rape of a 13-year-old girl in 1977.

Last year, Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein was kicked out from the academy, following numerous allegations of assault.

Neither Bill Cosby nor Roman Polanski have publicly reacted to the academy’s decision.

Bill Cosby’s wife, Camille, described his conviction as “mob justice, not real justice”.

She said: “This tragedy must be undone not just for Bill Cosby, but for the country.”

The academy made the announcement on May 3 – two days after its board members voted on the issue.

Photo AFP/Getty Images

Roman Polanski Extradition Rejected by Poland Court

Bill Cosby Retrial: Comedian Found Guilty of Assault

In a statement, the academy said its board “has voted to expel actor Bill Cosby and director Roman Polanski from its membership in accordance with the organization’s Standards of Conduct”.

The statement added: “The Board continues to encourage ethical standards that require members to uphold the Academy’s values of respect for human dignity.”

Only four people are known to have been expelled in the academy’s 91-year history.

Actor Carmine Caridi was the first actor expelled by the academy. He had his membership revoked in 2004 after he allegedly sent confidential film preview videos to a friend which ended up online.

On social media, many people have been asking what took the academy so long to take action against Roman Polanski, who has been honored in the decades since he admitted to statutory rape.

The unlawful case against Roman Polanski, now aged 84, has dragged on for more than 40 years.

He admitted unlawful relations with Samantha Geimer, who was a minor in 1977, and served 42 days in prison, but later fled the US over concern that a plea bargain deal would be scrapped.

Roman Polanski has French and Polish citizenship, and has evaded various extradition attempts by US authorities.

France – where the director lives – does not extradite its own citizens. A Polish court also rejected a US request when Roman Polanski was filming in Krakow in 2015.

The Swiss authorities also turned down a US warrant in 2010, after placing Roman Polanski under house arrest for nine months.

In 2017, Roman Polanski was picked to head the jury at the Césars, the French equivalent of the Oscars.

However, he stepped down after the move sparked outrage.

In 2017, Samantha Geimer told a US court she had forgiven Roman Polanski and wanted to move on. However, the court refused her plea.


Roman Polanski is to attend an extradition hearing in Krakow court after the US lodged a request with Poland to have him brought back.

The Polish-born film director has been wanted by US police since 1977, when he fled the country after being charged with assaulting a 13-year-old girl.

Roman Polanski, 81, has been working in Poland to prepare for a film he wants to shoot later this year.

The hearing will take place in Krakow on February 25.

Even if the court rules Roman Polanski should be extradited, the justice minister can approve or reject the decision.

Roman Polanski’s lawyer Jan Olszewski confirmed his client would be there.Roman Polanski extradition hearing Poland

Prosecutors in Poland refused a US request to arrest Roman Polanski in October but see no legal obstacles to the extradition.

If the Polish court agrees to the extradition, a final decision would be taken by the Polish justice minister.

It appears unlikely Poland would allow Roman Polanski to be extradited, where he is viewed by many as one of the country’s greatest living artists.

The Rosemary’s Baby director was held in Switzerland in 2009 after travelling to Zurich to pick up a prize at a film festival.

However, the extradition bid failed and he was eventually allowed to return to his home in France.

Roman Polanski has been to Poland several times in recent years.

In 2010, the Polish prosecutor general said Roman Polanski could not be extradited because under Polish law too much time had passed since the offences.

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Director Roman Polanski has announced he will cooperate with Polish authorities over an extradition request to the US, where he is wanted for a 1977 assault case.

Roman Polanski, who is currently working on a film in Krakow, served 42 days for unlawful s** with a 13-year-old before fleeing Poland.

Polish prosecutors have confirmed they will question the 81-year-old, who has both Polish and French passports.

Roman Polanski said he had “confidence in Poland’s justice system”.

“I will submit myself to the procedure and we will see,” he told a TV news channel.

Photo Reuters

Photo Reuters

“I hope everything will be alright.”

Poland generally does not allow extradition of its citizens, but has an extradition agreement with the US who filed a request at the beginning of January.

Roman Polanski was arrested in 2009 by Swiss authorities after travelling to Zurich to attend a film festival, but avoided extradition.

His movements are restricted by a warrant in effect in 188 countries, but he has avoided extradition by travelling between France, Poland and Switzerland.

Roman Polanski is working on a new film, An Officer and A Spy, about a 19th Century French scandal dubbed “the Dreyfus affair”.

Roman Polanski won an Oscar in 2003 for directing The Pianist, a harrowing story set in Nazi-occupied Warsaw that mirrored his own childhood experiences.

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Roman Polanski has been freed in Poland after being questioned by prosecutors.

The film director has been wanted by US police since 1977 after fleeing the country before he could be sentenced for assaulting a 13-year-old girl.

US authorities contacted Polish officials as Roman Polanski attended the opening of a Jewish museum in Warsaw.

Roman Polanski was questioned in Krakow.

“Roman Polanski said he would comply with all requests made by prosecutors in this case and provided his address,” Police justice ministry spokesman Mateusz Martyniuk told AFP.

“Prosecutors therefore decided not to arrest him in connection with a possible US extradition request.”

The Polish government confirmed that the US had contacted authorities asking them to arrest Polanski after he travelled to Warsaw for the opening of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews.

Mateusz Martyniuk said Roman Polanski’s extradition was still possible, but as the US had not yet forwarded an extradition request, Polanski “is a free citizen and is free to travel”.

Roman Polanski has been freed in Poland after being questioned by prosecutors

Roman Polanski has been freed in Poland after being questioned by prosecutors

He was held in Switzerland in 2009 after travelling to Zurich to pick up a prize at a film festival.

However, the extradition bid failed and he was eventually allowed to return to France.

He has been to Poland several times in recent years and was pictured on television at the opening of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews.

In 2010, the Polish prosecutor general said Roman Polanski could not be extradited because under Polish law too much time had passed since the offences.

Police in Los Angeles charged the director with s** offences including rape in 1977 before he accepted a plea deal, but he fled the country on the eve of his sentencing.

Last year his victim, Samantha Geimer, now 51, published her account of what happened in a book called The Girl: A Life Lived in the Shadow of Roman Polanski.

Roman Polanski is currently directing a stage show in Paris called The Vampires’ Ball, but has said he wants to shoot a film on location in Poland on the condition he will not face extradition.


Roman Polanski’s latest film, Venus in Fur, opened in France this month, with a likely 2014 release coming from Sundance Selects.

Venus in Fur (La Venus a la Fourrure) -a second stage-to-screen adaptation – premiered at the Cannes Film Festival a few months ago.

Venus in Fur premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2013

Venus in Fur premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2013

Taking over the roles made famous by Hugh Dancy and Nina Arianda (the latter winning a Tony for best actress), Roman Polanski brought on his wife, Emmanuelle Seigner, and her own Diving Bell and the Butterfly co-star, Mathieu Amalric.

Emmanuelle Seigner and Mathieu Amalric play a duo thrown into a game of cat and mouse centered on a young actress determined to book the lead role in a new play.

Venus in Fur’s first French trailer (without subtitles) and the first poster are now available.

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Emmanuelle Seigner, wife of controversial film director Roman Polanski, has claimed that she has been criticized by other Frenchwomen because of her “success, beauty and money”.

Roman Polanski is notorious as a fugitive from justice in the US over the r**e of a 13-year-old girl.

However, Emmanuelle Seigner, 46, has suggested that the main reason she has faced attacks from her fellow Frenchwomen was their jealousy of her “success, beauty and money”.

The actress and pop singer said she could not explain the chemistry between herself and the 79-year-old Oscar-winning director but admitted she liked the “danger” and unpredictability of not fitting the mould of a perfect relationship.

Emmanuelle Seigner, who is a close friend of Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, the former French first lady, has said: “In France, I guess there’s something like a tyranny in mentalities – we accept success badly, beauty, money.”

“People are certainly envious, and this creates negative energy. This is annoying. I suffered a great deal at one time. I had to fight harder than others. Add to that my marriage to Polanski.”

Emmanuelle Seigner was asked about what generated the romantic spark between her and Roman Polanski, whom she married in 1989.

Emmanuelle Seigner, wife of Roman Polanski, claims Frenchwomen are jealous of her success and beauty

Emmanuelle Seigner, wife of Roman Polanski, claims Frenchwomen are jealous of her success and beauty

“I don’t know. I ignore the ingredients. I guess that would be love. This can’t be explained,” she told Madame Figaro magazine.

“Perhaps because there’s an age difference – the improbable side that makes it probable. There are relationships where everything works and looks perfect, and that doesn’t interest me.

“I don’t like the idea of fitting into a mould, so as to conform. What I like is the danger, the difference – being unpredictable.”

Emmanuelle Seigner met Roman Polanski while appearing in one of his films, Frantic, in 1988, alongside Harrison Ford, but is now mainly known for her work inside France. The pair live in central Paris with their two children, Morgane and Elvis.

Roman Polanski was charged in 1977 with six crimes related to the s***al assault of a teenager during a photo shoot in Los Angeles but fled America, meaning all the charges are still pending.

He was arrested in Switzerland in 2009 at the request of the US authorities, who wanted to extradite him to face trial.

Following a period of prison, and then house arrest, Switzerland let Roman Polanski go, but he is now unlikely ever to leave France again in case he is re-arrested.

Like Carlo Bruni–Sarkozy, who is the third wife of former French president Nicolas Sarkozy, Emmanuelle Seigner has received a great deal of publicity through her relationship with a world-famous husband.

Frenchwomen are often lauded for their fashion sense, slender figures and perfectly behaved children, but critics have suggested they can be jealous, snobbish and sometimes even hostile.

A new website launched to help British women living in France fit in advises them to turn up late, brush up on current affairs and learn to accept compliments without treating them as a chat-up line.


Roman Polanski’s new film, Venus in Fur, with the director beautiful wife’s Emmanuelle Seigner in female leading role, is adapted from the stage-play by David Ives.

The movie is set continuously in one location: a theatre auditorium in Paris, where a harassed director has just spent a long and disagreeable afternoon auditioning actresses for a new version of Venus In Furs, the Leopold von Sacher-Masoch novel about s***al submission.

The last film screened in competition at Cannes 2013 is a slight, spry comedy of s** and power; a doodle in the festival’s margins, perhaps, but it has certainly been sketched with a flourish.

Roman Polanski has adapted the David Ives play Venus in Fur, which is itself based on a novella by the Austrian author Leopold von Sacher-Masoch.

Emmanuelle Seigner plays Vanda in Roman Polanski's latest film Venus In Fur

Emmanuelle Seigner plays Vanda in Roman Polanski’s latest film Venus In Fur

The playwright, Thomas (Mathieu Amalric), has decided to direct his own script, and as the film begins, he is lamenting the lack of suitable actresses for the Vanda role.

“I need a s**y young woman with classical training and a scrap of brain in her skull,” he fumes.

At that moment, an actress blows in through the door, although she is not the erudite gamine of Thomas’s casting-call fantasies. She is in her mid-40s; a blur of blonde hair and blue eyeshadow; and she seems to have only the vaguest idea as to what the text is about. Her name, oddly enough, is Vanda, and she is played by Emmanuelle Seigner.

The shrugging, gum-chewing Vanda seems to be even worse than the others, but after she begs, Thomas is finally persuaded to give her a try – and of course he is astonished by what Vanda comes up with. Soon their relationship begins to change and Roman Polanski shows how Thomas experiences precisely that forbidden frisson celebrated in the novel.

It is a Pygmalion story, in its way, a story of transformation. The director might consider it his prerogative to shape and develop his leading lady in rehearsal. But that is not how Vanda sees it. For all its avowed danger and transgression there is something a little bit dated and even genteel in this theatregoers’ adventure in s**.

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Roman Polanski’s wife Emmanuelle Seigner stole the show on the red carpet in Cannes in her plunging red dress.

All eyes were on Emmanuelle Seigner, 46, as she waltzed along the red carpet with her husband in her custom Alexandre Vauthier silk jersey gown which she styled with red Christian Louboutin sandals.

The French actress, who stars in Venus In Fur – Roman Polanski’s adaptation of the David Ives Broadway play, looked vibrant in her dress.

Mother-of-two Emmanuelle Seigner’s dress perfectly showed off her lily white skin and with a slick of red lipstick and minimal make-up the actress certainly upstaged fellow actress Nicole Kidman.

With the chilly breeze blowing her red dress around her legs The Diving Bell and the Butterfly star kept hold of her husband’s hand as they negotiated the red carpet.

The film is about an actress trying to get a director to give her a role.

Roman Polanski's wife Emmanuelle Seigner stole the show on the red carpet in Cannes in her plunging red dress

Roman Polanski’s wife Emmanuelle Seigner stole the show on the red carpet in Cannes in her plunging red dress

It is not Roman Polanski’s only offering in Cannes.

Three years after Senna, the hit film biography of the late Brazilian racing driver Ayrton Senna, sporting documentaries about Jackie Stewart, Muhammad Ali and Pele are competing for attention at the Cannes Film Festival.

In Weekend of a Champion, the Polish-French filmmaker Roman Polanski follows Jackie Stewart, his long-time friend, as he prepares to drive in the 1971 Monaco Grand Prix, at a time when the risks to drivers were far greater than they are now.

Roman Polanski said he had forgotten about the film, which was screened at the Berlin film festival in 1972 but never released, until a recent call from a processing lab holding the footage.

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