Palace Centro will host a festival dedicated to the oeuvre of controversial Franco-Polish director Roman Polanski.

The ROMAN: 10 x Polanski program, held in association with the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), will feature 10 key films from the director’s career, from his Polish New Wave debut, Knife in the Water, to his 2010 political thriller, The Ghost Writer, by way of the director’s British films of the ’60s, his Hollywood classics Rosemary’s Baby and Chinatown, and his Paris-set thrillers The Tenant, Frantic and Bitter Moon.

Marina Zenovich’s feature-length documentary, Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired, will also be part of the program.

“Lauded by the Museum of Modern Art in New York as ‘one of the great modern masters of the cinema’, Roman Polanski has over the course of five decades refined a formal film language and expressed a mordantly ironic worldview in genre-defining films that are provocative, compelling and inventive,” says ACMI film programmer Roberta Ciabarra, who has curated the season.

There’s no question that the Oscar-winning Polanski is a legend of cinema, but off-screen, his legacy is considerably more complicated. In 1977, he was arrested for the rape of 13-year-old Samantha Geimer in Los Angeles, and pleaded guilty to the charge of statutory rape. He was released from prison after 42 days and was told prosecutors had agreed to ask that he be put on probation.

When he learned that the judge planned to reject the plea bargain, he fled to Paris before he could be sentenced, and has continued to have great success as a director working with major Hollywood stars in Europe, even though he cannot return to America. In 2009, he was arrested by Swiss police, but was released after Swiss authorities refused his extradition to the US. Last year, another request for Polanski’s extradition was refused by a judge in Poland.

Polanski has publicly apologised to Geimer. Last year, Geimer said she supported the Polish judge’s decision not to extradite Polanski. “He said he did it, he pled guilty, he went to jail,” Geimer said. “I don’t know what people want from him.”

The following films will screen at Palace Centro:

  • Knife in the Water — Thursday 1 December
  • Repulsion — Friday 2 December
  • Rosemary’s Baby — Saturday 3 December
  • Chinatown — Saturday 3 December
  • Cul-de-Sac — Saturday 3 December
  • The Fearless Vampire Killers — Saturday 3 December
  • Frantic — Sunday 4 December
  • Bitter Moon — Sunday 4 December
  • Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired — Monday 5 December
  • The Ghost Writer — Tuesday 6 December
  • The Tenant — Wednesday 7 December

For more information and tickets, visit