Anyone who says “even though Roman Polanski is a child rapist, The Ghost Writer is a pretty good film” is, in my eyes, contemptible. The absolute lowest level of film criticism or appreciation is to assign a lack of merit or to attempt a tarnishing of some kind by condemning a filmmaker for a single act (as opposed to a pattern) that is morally offensive. John Huston made me a cuckold in 1947 and ’48 by seducing my wife so Treasure of the Sierra Madre…well, it’s not a bad film but boy, that Huston!

Since most artists throughout history have been known to have their failings, weaknesses or unfortunate obsessions, assessing a film (or any work of art) by the above-described standards is the worst form of pedestrian thinking. I’m saying this with a recent sample of Deathtongue Groupie-think running around my brain, and with the knowledge that Polanski has just been handed the Best Director award at the Berlin Film Festival.