Cannes: Roman Polanski Says VOD Is Not a "Threat to Cinema"

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Roman Polanski, Emmanuelle Seigner

His competition film, 'Based on a True Story,' stars Eva Green and his real-life wife Emmanuelle Seigner.

Roman Polanski's current legal battle wasn't addressed during his press conference in Cannes for his latest film Based on a True Story, but he was asked about the festival's most talked-about issue: Netflix.

"I don't think it's a basic threat to cinema," he said. "People will go to the movies not because of better sound or projection or better seats than in their home, but will go to cinema to participate in the experience with those around them."

He added: "People like [to] experience things and spectacle together. I think that’s the main reason they go to the cinema. It’s a very different experience to see Borat alone rather than a laughing audience."

Polanski's thriller Based on a True Story, starring Eva Green and his real-life wife Emmanuelle Seigner, is playing out of competition in Cannes. It centers on a woman who tries to become part of a famous author's life.

Most of the press conference Saturday was spent talking about ghostwriters and fantasy versus reality. He was asked why he thinks people can't live in reality today.

"I think the reason is the bombardment of information," he said. "You have never been so surrounded by information, reality, pictures of life around you. What is new is that this picture that could have served as a reference is becoming false. You cannot anymore rely on photography as a document of the truth. Before you could say this is a photo and this really happened, but now you can cheat within minutes and send it to an unlimited number of people."

He added: "You can change the destiny of a nation or the world by one simple gesture‚Äč. It's amplified millions of times around the globe. So I think there's an appetite for truth. How to ensure the audience that it's really true. I'm not talking about cinema — I'm talking about the audience in general, the audience of television, radio — when you daily hear the information we heard yesterday is now totally false today."

Polanski's latest debuts as the American filmmaker continues his legal battle to return to the U.S. after spending the past 40 years in Europe. The director fled the U.S. in 1977 after pleading guilty to unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl. In April, his victim wrote a scathing letter expressing her outrage over the case to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office.

Polanski's 2013 film, Venus in Fur, also premiered in Cannes, and he won the Cesar for best director for it.

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