It takes a lot to get onto my Unforgiven List. I've taken back clients who screwed me out of thousands of dollars, only to have some of them proceed to screw me out of more thousands. Somehow, I maintain contact with all of my closest relatives, despite any number of permutations of them being estranged to one degree or another. My personality type is peacemaker, so I tend to begrudge the forming of grudges. But if you want to piss me off big time, try abuse or statutory rape. That bridge gets blowed up faster than you can say "Chris Christie."
I also have a thing about real murderers, much as I enjoy watching or reading about fictional ones. A certain local physician, who got away with murder in the literal sense, will never be referred to as anything other than "Dr. Death," and there's that stander-your-grounder of Florida lore who I refuse to refer to as anything other than George Voldemort.
But in cinema, diddling the young makes you dead to me- and thus I have no interest in seeing The Pianist, or any other ouevre of the man, no matter how classy or Palme d'Or'd it might get lauded by the intellegentsia, so long as Roman Polanski is still a fugitive from a statutory rape conviction. That list ended with him until this weekend, but today I add, and kill off, the name of one Allan Stewart Konigsberg, on account of the charges leveled against him by his adopted daughter, Dylan Farrow.
You know Allan by a slightly differently spelled stage name. He began with jokes and wacky standup, moved into straight comedy films of mostly others, many among my favorites. By the mid-70s, he'd established his schtick of verbal, Noo Yawk-centric, classy comic works- all stylized with white-on-black opening credits, jazzy soundtracks, and versatile casts. Annie Hall was his peak before the next film, Interiors, flipped a massive bird at his appreciative audience as Allan decided we hadn't experienced enough Ingmar Bergman tragedy in our lives and damned if he wasn't going to give us some. That was the only film I ever stood on line for on the day of its Manhattan opening, and I felt betrayed. He returned to funnier shores in his next film Manhattan, but its focus on a too-young girlfriend (Mariel Hemingway) wound up creeping me out in years to come as stories of Allan's strange preferences became all too real off the reel.
Imagine how Dylan wound up feeling, not many years later, when her stepfather (and, southern irony aside, future uncle) took her into a locked room and did God knows what with her. We heard plenty of weirdness at the time, mostly about him marrying his second ex's own daughter. The 90s custody battle over their other cleverly named kids was tabloid fodder, but eventually it went away, and Allan began his ritual of cranking out a clever piece a year (give or take), most of which we've seen on DVD.
Except it never went away for Dylan- and his films have now gone away as far as I'm concerned.
Allan's reaction, when Dylan published her open letter over this past weekend, was to counter it as "untrue and disgraceful." Because, yeah, she has every reason to lie about it after all these years, whereas you have your lifetime achievement award and your lifetime direct all the shit you want status and dozens of other cities to paint loving biopics about (London, Paris, San Francisco- hey, why not Buffalo? we have child molesters here, too, after all:P)
Apologists are all over the place, victim-blaming to beat the band. As with Polanski, a certain amount of talent seems to forgive a multitude of sins. But not here.
I end with the words that had been, until these revelations, my favorite of all time spoken from the W-man's lips- words that, ironically, he neither wrote nor directed- appearing at the end of the politically charged drama The Front. Facing Congressional charges in which he was asked not to implicate himself but others, Allan Stewart Konigsberg, in character, told his accusers what I, as one of his accusers, now tell him (changed only from plural to singular):
And furthermore, you can go fuck yourself.
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