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Between the borders of life and art: Roman Polanski’s transgressive negotiations

Faculty Advisor




transgression, Roman Polanski, subversion, sexuality, cinema, perversion, desire

Abstract (summary)

Roman Polanski’s films are noted for their subversive psychological style that explores themes of sexuality, desire, alienation, and violence. His narratives often reflect a dark sense of humour through which the director perceives the absurdity of the human condition in relation to his own cultural dislocations and artistic eccentricity. This article investigates how different connotations of transgression play a major role in defining Roman Polanski as a filmmaker. It specifically explores how the polysemy of transgression structures Polanski as an artist whose real and cinematic negotiations are often intertwined. Through the constant subversion of moral, cultural, and social discourses, his visual style and narrative ideology maintain a notorious affinity that disturbs the notion of reality and manipulates it with new narrative texts. It is the idea of transgression that changes the way Polanski’s auteur status is perceived, appreciated, and rejected for his actions and creations in the past and their repercussions in the present. Polanski’s works use historical, social, and personal realities to renegotiate his transgressive image in real life by incorporating his contested victim status and persecuted selfhood in narratives that manipulate both the past and present.

Publication Information

Raj, S. J. & Suresh, A. K. (2023) Between the Borders of Life and Art: Roman Polanski’s Transgressive Negotiations. Studies in Eastern European Cinema, 14(3).


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