Polanski is one of the most talented and distinguished of modern film makers. A well-informed cultural traveller, interested in the position of the outsider, he is hard to pigeonhole: he moves easily between mass audience and art-house tastes, between settings and genres; his films, including "Two Men and a Wardrobe", "Cul de Sac", "Rosemary's Baby", "The Pianist" and "Oliver Twist", represent diverse characters and cinematic influences. Like a magpie, he's interested in everything he encounters, but then easily discards his treasures and moves onward. Covering all Polanski's films as director, this welcome book addresses the eclecticism, ambiguity and paradoxes of his cinema, while seeking out the common elements in his films. Ewa Mazierska examines the autobiographical effect of Polanski's films, his characters and diverse narratives, and the place of absurdism, surrealism and the 'double life' of things in his cinema. She looks into the function of music, of religion, power, patriarchy and racism in the films, as well as Polanski's literary adaptations and his use and subversion of film genres.
Herself a Polish emigre, she uncovers Polanski's Polish roots and the extent of their influence on the cinema of this mercurial film maker, at large in the world.