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French directors' guild begins moves to suspend Roman Polanski

A French organisation of more than 200 film-makers said on Monday it will propose new rules regarding members charged or convicted of a criminal offence, particularly of a sexual nature, which could lead to the suspension and expulsion of French-Polish director Roman Polanski.

The board of the ARP directors’ guild voted to present “new procedures to suspend any member facing legal charges, and expel any member convicted, especially for crimes of a sexual nature,” said Pierre Jolivet, the organisation’s president.

The proposed rules for suspension “would affect Roman Polanski, whose judicial case is still open in the United States and for which he has been charged,” Jolivet added.

The proposed changes will be presented to the directors’ guild members to vote on at a special general assembly, for which no date has yet been set, an ARP spokesman told Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Polanski has been a fugitive from US justice since admitting to the statutory rape of a 13-year-old girl in 1977 in a plea bargain to avoid a trial on more serious charges. The 86-year-old film-maker was accused of drugging and raping the girl, and fled to France when it appeared a judge was reconsidering his release.

Earlier this month, former French model and actress Valentine Monnier accused Polanski of raping her in 1975, when she was 18, after beating her “into submission” at his Swiss chalet. Monnier, who now works as a photographer, said she felt compelled to speak out after Polanski compared himself to the hero of his new film, Alfred Dreyfus, the Jewish officer wrongly persecuted as a spy by the French army at the turn of the 20th century. Polanski has denied Monnier’s claims “in the strongest terms”.

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Despite the controversy swirling around Polanski and calls to boycott his film, An Officer and a Spy topped the box office in France this weekend, in one of the strongest openings for a French film this year.


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