At what point does a filmmaker's offscreen life affect the way we look at what's on screen? Can you appreciate Charlie Chaplin's genius without being reminded of his taste for underage girls? Does Woody Allen's creepy personal life taint our enjoyment of Manhattan? Will we ever want to watch a Mel Gibson movie again? For the most part, I'd argue that an actor's or director's private affairs should be just that: private. But it's not always so easy. Take Roman Polanski, the undeniably brilliant director of Rosemary's Baby and Chinatown who also happens to be a convicted felon who's never truly paid for the crime of statutory rape of a 13-year-old girl in 1977. No one can argue that his offense wasn't monstrous. But the movie lover in me believes it's possible to separate the two: hate the sinner, love his cinema.
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