Venice Jury President Lucrecia Martel Says Yes to Polanski’s Film, No to Congratulating Him

Argentine auteur Lucrecia Martel, who presides over the Venice Film Festival jury, defended the inclusion of Roman Polanski’s “An Officer and A Spy” in the competition but said she would not attend a gala dinner for Polanski’s movie later this week.

“I will not congratulate him,” Martel said during the festival’s opening press conference. “But I think it is right that his movie is here at this festival.”

Martel, whose credits include “The Headless Woman” and “Zama,” added that “we have to develop our dialogue with him, and this is the best possible place to go on with this type of discussion.”

Polanski, who was convicted of statutory rape in 1977, will not be making an appearance on the Lido, according to his film’s publicist.

Speaking of the case, Martel said: “A man who commits a crime of this size who is then condemned, and the victim considers herself satisfied with the compensation, is difficult for me judge….It is difficult to define what is the right approach we have to take with people who have committed certain acts and were judged for them. I think these questions are part of the debate in our times.”

Martel also distanced herself from festival director Alberto Barbera’s reiteration that he rejects the notion of quotas for female directors at festivals. “The issue of the quotas is difficult and the answer is never satisfactory,” she said. “There are no other solutions which include the discussion of whether to give women the place that they deserve,” she added.

“And I think that quotas are indeed pertinent for the time being. Do I like them? No. However, I don’t think I know of any other system that would force this industry to think differently and to take into consideration films that are directed by women.”

Martel then said to Barbera: “For this 76th edition of the festival, you could have tried as an experiment, Mr. Barbera, to have 50-50, just to see what happens – if it’s so certain that the quality of movies would suffer or if this could foster a distinct industry-wide movement. The industry transformation underway is so deep that, after 76 years, Venice could experiment for a couple of years.”

Barbera declined to take up the idea. “If I had found 50% of movies directed by women [that were worthy of the selection], I would have done that, without any need for a quota,” he said.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Extinction

    Coronavirus Causes 85% Crash in Asia Box Office

    Theatrical box office in the Asia-Pacific region tumbled a massive 85% in the first two months of the year. The coronavirus caused cinema closures, audience hesitation, and a halving of the number of film releases. Asia is home to the five of the top ten cinema markets outside North America. According to data from the [...]

  • Lindsay Lindenbaum on 'Tomboy,' Female Drummers,

    How 'Tomboy' Filmmaker Used SXSW Cancellation to Fine-Tune Her Film

    “Tomboy” filmmaker Lindsay Lindenbaum spent five years following four female drummers trying to make it in a male-dominated world. Lindenbaum profiles Bobbye Hall, a drummer who started at Motown Records in the late ’60s and later toured with Bob Dylan. Samantha Maloney, whose obsession with MTV’s “Headbangers Ball” as a teenager led her to fall [...]

  • Wonder Woman 1984

    Will the Coronavirus Pandemic Wipe Out All of Summer Blockbuster Season?

    Say goodbye to blockbuster season — at least for this year. After would-be summer hits from Disney, Warner Bros., and Universal already vacated their release dates, Sony Pictures announced Monday that its comic book adventure “Morbius,” “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” and virtually all of its upcoming tentpoles were being moved into the fall or beyond. It was [...]

  • Dodgers Stadium Empty

    Movie Theaters and Concerts Could See Major Attendance Drop Post-Pandemic (Study)

    After a month of increasing anxiety and self-isolation due to the coronavirus pandemic, audiences in the U.S. are largely not eager to return to public events once the crisis subsides, according to a new study. In a survey of 1,000 consumers in the U.S., 44% of respondents said they would attend fewer large public events, [...]

  • 'Dolphin Reef' Review: A Dazzling Look

    'Dolphin Reef' on Disney Plus: Film Review

    Out of the vast universe of nature documentaries, I don’t think I’m alone in finding films about life under the sea to occupy a special place. The very fact that they exist, of course, is amazing — though when you watch one, part of the wonder is that you’re not thinking about how aquamarine filmmakers [...]

  • CONJURING DAD – In Disney and

    What's Coming to Disney Plus in April 2020

    Disney Plus will continue to expand its library next month, adding older films as well as new episodes of its original programming. Less than a month after its release on March 6, Pixar’s “Onward” is making an early jump to Disney’s streaming platform amid the coronavirus pandemic. With the vast majority of theaters now closed [...]

  • Black AF Netflix

    Everything Coming to Netflix in April

    As everyone continues to self-quarantine and practice social distancing due to the coronavirus pandemic, there’s no better “at-home” activity than catching up on all the new films and shows streaming on Netflix this April. A number of new series are set to premiere on the streaming platform, including “Never Have I Ever,” “#BlackAf,” “OuterBanks,” “The [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content