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Roman Polanski

A new take on an eclectic and controversial director

James Morrison's Roman Polanski offers one of the most comprehensive and critically engaged treatments ever written on Polanski's work. Tracing the filmmaker's remarkably diverse career from its beginnings to the present, the book provides commentary on all his major films in their historical, cultural, social, and artistic contexts. By locating Polanski's work within the genres of comedy and melodrama, Morrison argues that this eclectic and controversial director is not merely obsessed with the theme of repression, but that his true interest is in the concrete--what is out in the open--and in why it is so rarely seen.

The range of Polanski's filmmaking challenges traditional divisions between high and low culture, as exhibited in two of his recent and very different films: The Ninth Gate, a brash pastiche of the horror genre, and The Pianist, an Academy Award-winning film about the Holocaust. In dubbing Polanski a relentless critic of modernity, Morrison concludes that his career is representative of the fissures, victories, and rehabilitations of the last fifty years of international cinema.

"The dizzying ups and downs of Polanski's career, Morrison observes, are representative of the vagaries of international cinema during the past half century."--Booklist "A valuable addition to the already substantial field of Polanski studies. It is insightful and richly informative not only about Polanski's trailblazing, difficult-to-classify films, but also the cultural context of the past few decades."--Times Literary Supplement

"A very personal, insightful book, which sheds welcome new light on the career of a major talent, while at the same time highlighting the complexities of transnational film culture."--Scope

"In this outstanding book, James Morrison makes a strong case for Polanski as an intriguing example of film authorship. Drawing on the work of Deleuze and Foucault, Morrison examines the breaks in his career and several cinematic modes he has explored, while discovering a surprising unity in the filmmaker's preoccupations and aesthetic."--Cynthia Erb, author of Tracking King Kong: A Hollywood Icon in World Culture

James Morrison is an associate professor of film and literature at Claremont McKenna College. He is the author of Passport to Hollywood: Hollywood Films, European Directors, and coauthor (with Thomas Schur) of The Films of Terrence Malick.

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