And you thought we were done with Roman Polanski!

I know this is the blogging equivalent of hanging a suction-cup Garfield in my car window or wearing acid-washed black denim, but even though we're all done with Roman Polanski, one more thought occurred to me.

Specifically, I was thinking about the movie of his I re-viewed most recently: Repulsion. In it (sort of a spoiler alert, but it's really not a plot-driven movie), the female character has been driven mad by (it is strongly suggested) having been sexually abused as a child. She continues to suffer at the hands of sexually exploitative men. The movie is basically about how sexual exploitation has destroyed this woman's sanity.

(By the way, I found the movie overrated, but I find much film widely considered great that was made between 1960 and 1990 to be overrated, so take my opinion with a grain of salt.)

This reminded me of one of Polanski's recent defenders, Woody Allen. He seems to have some amount of contempt for older, smarter women (forget his personal life: see Manhattan for exhibit A). At least, he has a strong desire to escape relationships with them - for sexual reasons, yes, but also because he prefers playing Pygmalion to having a relationship of equals. Yet he is able to have his older, smarter, rejected female characters describe their pain at being rejected.

In both cases, you have a director who chooses to depict the pain he is willing to inflict. They are aware of the effects of what they do, and they do it anyway. Neither has an empathy deficit. Nor are either unwilling to closely examine those effects. Both simply prove unwilling to act on that empathy at the cost of the satisfaction of their own sexual or romantic desire. Perhaps they are even more disturbing than those who act that way because they are unable or unwilling to put themselves in women's shoes.

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