Roman Polanski Claims to Still Be Haunted by Persecution Over Wife's Murder
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Ahead of the 'An Officer and a Spy' premiere at the Venice Film Festival, the exiled filmmaker addresses Sharon Tate's death and his rape case in an interview with writer Pascal Bruckner.

AceShowbiz - Moviemaker Roman Polanski has blasted his critics as his latest film dominates the chatter at the Venice Film Festival in Italy.

Many film fans are still appalled the director's "An Officer and a Spy" will be part of this year's competition in Venice following its premiere on Friday (August 30), and although Polanski won't be attending the launch, he has offered up an interview for the film's press notes, in which he discusses the murder of his pregnant wife and the rape incident that drove him into exile.

Interviewed by French writer Pascal Bruckner, who wrote the novel which inspired Polanski's film "Bitter Moon", the filmmaker says, "Most of the people who harass me do not know me and know nothing about the (rape) case... My work is not therapy. However, I must admit that I am familiar with many of the workings of the apparatus of persecution shown in the film ('An Officer and a Spy'), and that has clearly inspired me."

He adds, "The way people see me, my 'image', did indeed start to form with (late wife) Sharon Tate's death. When it happened, even though I was already going through a terrible time, the press got hold of the tragedy and, unsure of how to deal with it, covered it in the most despicable way, implying, among other things, that I was one of the people responsible for her murder, against a background of satanism."

"For them, my film 'Rosemary's Baby', proved that I was in league with the devil! It lasted several months, until the police finally found the real killers - Charles Manson and his 'family' (cult). All this still haunts me today. Anything and everything. It is like a snowball, each season adds another layer. Absurd stories by women I have never seen before in my life who accuse me of things which supposedly happened more than half a century ago."

The 86-year-old was arrested in 1977 and charged with drugging and raping 13-year-old Samantha Geimer. He pleaded guilty to the lesser offence of unlawful sex with a minor and served 42 days behind bars. He became a fugitive from U.S. justice after learning a judge was planning to hand him a lengthy sentence.

The drama took place eight years after his pregnant wife, Tate, was stabbed to death by members of Manson's cult.

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