Insults greet Polanski's return to film

THIRTY YEARS after Rosemary's Baby, and the murder of his wife by Charles Manson's gang of satanic hippies, Roman Polanski has made a movie about the devil. The film, La Neuvieme Porte (The Ninth Gate) - Polanski's first work for five years - premiered in France this week to a critical reception ranging from the frostily polite to the insulting.

Liberation said the film would become a "classic" - but added, "a byword in the cinematic history of insane shit and utter rubbish". Le Parisien said it was a "successful, disturbing thriller" in the form of a "macabre game". Polanski, 66, describes the movie as "Hitchcockian".

All critics agree that the best thing about the film is the performance of Johnny Depp as an antiquarian book dealer, hired to track down satanic books on behalf of a wealthy client. The movie was made with French money, shot partly on location in France and Spain, but acted in English. Polanski has refused to return to America since fleeing California in 1977, after being accused of having sex with an under-age girl.

The comic fantasy thriller is the first time Polanski has used the subject of the devil since 1969, when he made Rosemary's Baby about a woman impregnated by Satan. Later the same year Polanski's pregnant wife, Sharon Tate, was murdered by Charles Manson's "family" of devil-worshipping hippies.

In the new film, the devil isa beautiful, and occasionally naked, young woman - played by Polanski's present wife, Emmanuelle Seigner, who gave birth to their second child, Elvis Polanski, just before the movie was made. The parallels have been too close for some critics, especially since Polanski treats the whole subject of devil- worship as a kind of farcical parody of a Tintin or Indiana Jones adventure story.

Le Monde said the final scene was a "perfectly ridiculous black mass in which the participants turn into devotees of Satan in the way that children play at being cowboys and Indians", and that Depp's character was always a step behind the audience in understanding the absurdly obvious twists of the plot.

Polanski told Figaro: "For me the devil is a total fiction... which allows us to shrug off our own responsibility for evil." To Liberation, he said: "When I pick a theme for a movie, I don't think. I go for whatever grabs me at that moment. The same is true for everything else. Food. Women."

Of his exile from the United States, he said: "[America] destroyed me but now it's destroying itself, with its own puritanism. It reminds me of a painting of Dali's - The Virgin sodomised by her own chastity."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Sport
Sir Bradley Wiggins removes his silver medal after the podium ceremony for the men’s 4,000m team pursuit in Glasgow yesterday
Commonwealth games Disappointment for Sir Bradley in team pursuit final as England are forced to settle for silver
Sport
Jodie Stimpson crosses the finishing line to win gold in the women's triathlon
Life and Style
Phillips Idowu, Stella McCartney and Jessica Ennis
fashionMcCartney to continue designing Team GB Olympics kit until 2016
Sport
Shinji Kagawa and Reece James celebrate after the latter scores in Manchester United's 7-0 victory over LA Galaxy
football
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SQL Report Analyst (SSRS, CA, SQL 2012)

£30000 - £38500 Per Annum + 25 days holiday, pension, subsidised restaurant: C...

Application Support Analyst (SQL, Incident Management, SLAs)

£34000 - £37000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...

Embedded Software / Firmware Engineer

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Pension, Holiday, Flexi-time: Progressive Recruitm...

Developer - WinForms, C#

£280 - £320 per day: Progressive Recruitment: C#, WinForms, Desktop Developmen...

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning