Roman Polanski was not on the Venice Lido on August 30 for the screening of I accuse. Since his arrest in 2009 by the Swiss police at the request of the US judicial authorities, during a trip to the Zurich Festival, the director of the Pianist avoids crossing the borders of his two countries, France and Poland.
During the first two days of this 76th Venice Film Festival, the noise of the debate around the presence of I accuse in competition had covered other conversations. After stating that she did not want " celebrate " Roman Polanski, sentenced for minor misappropriation and still accused of rape by California courts, the president of the jury, the Argentine filmmaker Lucrecia Martel, had to issue a statement in which she defended any bias against the film.
In the Hollywood professional newspaper Variety, the Italian co-producer of the film Luca Barbareschi had mentioned the withdrawal of the film against the hostility of the president. One of the questions asked by the writer Pascal Bruckner to Roman Polanski in the press kit of I accuse, published on the occasion of the festival, was also not likely to appease the spirits: "As a persecuted Jew during the war, as a filmmaker persecuted by the Stalinists in Poland, will you survive today's neo-feminist McCarthyism? "
Finally, I accuse forced the respect of the press and the professionals, to whom were reserved the first projections. Whatever one thinks of the current legal status of Roman Polanski, his twenty-second feature film makes himself indispensable by force of rigor and beauty.
For more than seven years, the filmmaker wanted to evoke the Dreyfus affair. On a screenplay by the British novelist Robert Harris (whose first version became a book, D.)he does so through the figure of Georges Picquart, the staff officer who became chief of the French secret services the day after the first conviction of Captain Alfred Dreyfus for high treason, the mastermind of the revision of the trial.