Roman Polanski Original Director
Roman Polanksi was born in Paris in 1933 to Polish parents. He grew up in Poland and trained at the University of Fine Arts in Cracow and the National Film School in Łódź. His first stage appearance came at the age of 14, and he also performed in the popular radio show “The Merry Gang”. While still a teenager, he appeared in several films, including Andrzej Wajda’s “Generation”. He directed his first short film, “Two Men and a Wardrobe”, in Poland at the age of 25, followed by further films like “When Angels Fall” (1958), “The Fat and the Lean” (1961) and “Mammals” (1962). His 1962 feature film debut, “Knife in the Water”, won the Critics’ Prize at the Venice Film festival and was nominated for an Oscar as Best Foreign Language Film. In 1964, he shot his first film in English, “Revulsion”, starring Cathérine Deneuve and her sister, Francoise Dorléac, which won the Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival. It was followed by “Cul-de-sac”, which won a Golden Bear in 1965. In his next feature film, “The Fearless Vampire Killers” (1967), Polanski played one of the lead roles himself. His American film debut was “Rosemary’s Baby” (1968), while back in Europe he directed his adaptation of “Macbeth”, the comedy “What?”, starring Marcello Mastroianni, and “The Tenant”, in which he played the lead role. Returning to Hollywood, he directed “Chinatown”, starring Jack Nicholson, which was nominated for eleven Academy Awards and won an Oscar for Best Screenplay. His next film, “Tess”, starring Natassia Kinski, won three Oscars, and was followed by “Pirates” and the thriller “Frantic, starring Harrison Ford and Emanuelle Seigner in her cinematic debut. In 1992 – newly married to Polanksi – she would play a lead role in “Bitter Moon” and subsequently in “The Ninth Gate” with Johnny Depp. Polanski also directed the claustrophobic drama “Death and the Maiden”, starring Sigourney Weaver and Ben Kingsley, and “The Pianist” (1993), which won three Oscars, including one for Best Director, as well as a Palme d’Or at Cannes. His most recent films include “Oliver Twist”, also starring Ben Kingsley, and “The Ghost Writer”, starring Ewan McGregor und Pierce Brosnan, which was filmed on the island of Sylt. In 1999, Roman Polanski became a member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts, succeeding the late Marcel Carné. Polanski’s stage works include Alban Berg’s opera “Lulu” at the Spoleto Festival, Verdi’s “Rigoletto” at the Munich State Opera and “Les Contes d’Hoffmann” at the Opéra Bastille in Paris. In 1981, Polanski played the lead role in Peter Shaffer’s “Amadeus”, first in Warsaw and then in Paris. He also created the lead role in Stephen Berkoff’s 1988 stage adaptation of Kafka’s “Metamorphosis”. In Paris in 1996, he directed Terence McNally’s “Masterclass” starring Fanny Ardant, and then a year later in Vienna the original production of DANCE OF THE VAMPIRES at the Raimund Theater. His version was also performed in Stuttgart and Hamburg, Berlin and Oberhausen, while other productions were created in Estonia, Poland, Hungary and, most recently, Japan. In 2003, he directed Ibsen’s “Hedda Gabler”, starring Emmanuelle Seigner, while in 2006, he directed John Patrick Shanley’s “Doubt” in Paris, appeared alongside Gérard Depardieu in Giuseppe Tornatore’s “A Pure Formality”, and played the lead role in Andrzej Wajda’s “The Vengeance”. In 2007, he appeared in Brett Ratner‘s “Rush Hour 3” and in 2008 in Antoni Luigi Grimaldi’s film “Caos Calmo”. In 2010, he won Best Director award for the thriller “The Ghost Writer” at the 60th Berlin Film Festival. In the same year, the film also won six European Film Awards. In 2011, he directed “Carnage”, which was invited to compete at the 68th Venice Film Festival in 2011 and also won him another César for Best Adapted Screenplay in 2012. 2013 saw the release of his screen version of the novel “Venus in Fur”. The film premiered in May 2013 and was nominated for a Palme d’Or at the 66th Cannes Film Festival and in 2014 won a César for Best Director. Also in 2014, Polanksi presented the reissue of his only foray into documentaries, “Weekend of a Champion” (1972), at the Cannes Film Festival.