Movies | November 10, 2019 11:28 am

Roman Polanski Accused of 1975 Rape

Photographer Valentine Monnier says filmmaker assaulted her when she was 18

Roman Polanski
Roman Polanski in 2017.
ActuaLitté/Creative Commons

On Friday, the French newspaper Le Parisien published a letter from photographer Valentine Monnier. Monnier described a horrifying sequence of events: how, at the age of 18 in 1975, she had gone on a ski trip with several friends. Roman Polanski, the owner of the chalet where they were staying, made inappropriate comments to her before raping her that night. 

Now, with Polanski’s next film, concerning the Dreyfus affair, about to reach theaters, Monnier says she felt the need to speak out. As The New York Times reports:

“Is it credible to hear somebody say, ‘I accuse’ when they have branded you and forbidden you, the victim, to accuse him?” Ms. Monnier said in an interview published by the same newspaper.

Polanski’s forthcoming film J’Accuse has brought the director a host of criticism — that is, criticism above and beyond what he’s already received for avoiding prison time for several decades.

Early reviews of Polanski’s forthcoming film have been withering. “Any controversy that might erupt over Roman Polanski’s decision to implicitly equate himself with one of history’s greatest victims of injustice is dissipated by the resultant film’s tepid listlessness,” wrote Alonso Duralde at The Wrap

In his review of the film for Variety, Owen Gleiberman was more direct. He notes that “Polanski has been explicit about” making parallels between his own situation and that of Dreyfus. “I’m sorry, but that comparison is obscene,” Gleiberman writes. Monnier’s decision to come forward after all these years is another example of why that comparison is so terribly flawed.

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