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Roman Polanski’s ‘The Palace’ under consideration for Cannes, Venice film fests

Los Angeles, Feb 3 (IANS) Filmmaker Roman Polanski, who fell from grace in France since the premiere of his last film ‘An Officer and a Spy’ in competition at Venice in 2019, is back with ‘The Palace’ that could make a surprise splash on the festival circuit.

Polanski, who fled the U.S. in 1978 after pleading guilty to having unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl, was leading a pleasant life in France for decades until he came back into the global spotlight with the Lido premiere of ‘An Officer and a Spy’ and scooped the Grand Jury Prize, reports Variety.

Shortly after the movie’s Venice bow, Polanski faced new allegations of sexual misconduct, which he denied. When he went on to win best director at France’s Cesar Awards, the country’s equivalent of the Oscars, industry outcry prompted a complete overhaul of the leadership of the awards.

As per Variety, the scandal sparked the birth of France’s own #MeToo movement, spearheaded by French actor Adele Haenel, the star of ‘Portrait of a Lady on Fire’, who walked out of the Cesar ceremony upon hearing Polanski’s name.

But while no French financier, producer or broadcaster has dared touch ‘The Palace’, Polanski may not have been cancelled on the festival circuit. His black comedy ‘The Palace’, which is set in a posh hotel in the Swiss Alps resort of Gstaad, and stars Mickey Rourke, John Cleese and Fanny Ardant, is being considered by both the Cannes and Venice selection committees.

Variety further states that however, the film, which is backed by Italy’s RAI Cinema, is also slated for an April 6 theatrical release in Italy. This, in theory, would make a Cannes bow improbable and rules out Venice. Several Italian exhibitors have confirmed that they are expecting to release the film on April 6.

But RAI Cinema chief Paolo Del Brocco told Variety that the Italian release for the $17 million ‘The Palace’ “is not cast in stone.” He also didn’t rule out a Cannes premiere for the film, which is now in post.

The April 6 Italian release date for ‘The Palace’ is not incompatible with a Cannes bow. Italian auteur Nanni Moretti’s films regularly launch from Cannes after being released in Italy. However, in order to go to Venice, the Polanski film’s Italian release date would need to be changed.