Director Roman Polanski gave an interview at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival in which he claimed “trying to level the genders is purely idiotic.” The 79-year-old said on Saturday, "Offering flowers to a lady has become indecent … The pill has greatly changed the place of women in our times, masculinising her. It chases away the romance in our lives."
This year, Polanski premiered his new film “Venus in Fur,” which stars his wife, the former fashion model Emmanuelle Seigner. It is an adaptation of a David Ives play by the same name. It plays with ideas of gender and femininity.
The plot focuses on an actress who is dramatic and chaotic as she auditions for a role. She eventually has the once-dominant director in the palm of her hand.
Polanski denied the film is anything like his own life.
“The satire on sexism was very seductive," he said. "There was a macho element to [the director] character that was torn to pieces. That was enjoyable. People who know me know there is nothing like that in my personality, so it gave me great satisfaction to do it."
Polanski was famously convicted for the statutory rape of a 13-year-old girl during a 1977 photo shoot. Indicted on six counts, including rape by use of drugs, child molestation and sodomy, he pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor.
When Polanski learned he might face jail time he fled the U.S. Despite an Interpol warrant in 188 countries, the director has lived ever since in Switzerland and France. In 2010, he was freed from house arrest in Switzerland, after the government refused to deport him to the U.S. to face criminal charges.
His new film is in competition for the Palme d'Or, the Golden Palm, the highest prize awarded at Cannes. The winner will be announced Sunday.
Ives, who is not credited in the film, based his play on the book “Venus in Furs” by Austrian writer Leopold Ritter von Sacher-Masoch, from whom the term masochism is derived. The book expressed an inner fantasy, particularly about dominant women wearing fur.