This week the Press Play blog’s Serena Bramble and Simon Abrams are presenting the first chapter in a video-essay series on Roman Polanski’s movies, called, unsurprisingly, Life’s work: the films of Roman Polanski, curated by Indiewire and Salon contributor Matt Zoller Seitz. Any doubt you may have on the producers’ intentions will vanish as soon as you learn the first chapter’s title: Roman Polanski is God–but don’t be fooled, this is just a mildly ironic glance at Polanski’s metaphysical outlook on life.
When I spoke to essayist and film critic Simon Abrams he explained that Polanski’s own agnosticism provided the material for his essay, which he narrated for the series. Co-producer Bramble then put together a video montage of clips from the French-Polish filmmaker’s opus to match Abrams’ words.
This should whet appetites as Polanski’s latest film Carnage will be shown at this year’s New York Film Festival.
Here’s a quote from the Abrams/Bramble essay: “When you watch a Polanski film, you’re watching this sense of abundance in them. They have very cheerful settings — deceptively cheerful. You get the sense that you’re watching the seasons change from this brightness to this inner gray that takes over.”
Other chapters presented in the series will include video-essays by Matt Zoller Seitz and editor/filmmaker Steven Santos.
Below, a still from Polanski’s Chinatown (1974) starring Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway, which is covered at length in chapter one of the series: