Controversial director Roman Polanski has lamented that the birth control pill has had a ‘masculinizing’ effect on women and called the leveling of the sexes ‘idiotic.’
The 79-year-old filmmaker made the comments Saturday at the Cannes Film Festival, where he came to premiere Venus in Fur, a film adapted from the David Ives play which stars Polanski’s wife and toys with the subject of gender.
Polanski said the pill has ‘changed the place of women in our times’ while talking to reporters. He further bemoaned the fact that ‘offering flowers to a lady’ has become ‘indecent.’
‘There are other elements,’ he added. ‘I think it chases away the romance from our lives and that’s a great pity.’
The 79-year-old Oscar-winning director was famously convicted of having sex with a minor in a 1977 case.
He was initially indicted on six felony counts, including rape by use of drugs, child molesting and sodomy, but pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful sexual intercourse.
Polanski, whose past films include Chinatown and Rosemary’s Baby, fled the United States after a Los Angeles judge threatened further sanctions.
He’s restricted by an Interpol warrant in effect in 188 countries, but he moves freely between Switzerland and France.
He was freed from Swiss house arrest in 2010 after the government refused to deport him to the United States.
Due to his lingering legal troubles, Polanski was forced to sit out the Academy Awards ceremony in 2003 when he won an Oscar for his Holocaust film The Pianist.
Polanski’s new movie stars his wife, Emmanuelle Seigner, and French actor Mathieu Amalric as an actress and theater director rehearsing an adaptation of Leopold von Sacher-Masoch’s 1870 novella, Venus in Furs.
The film features Seigner as a strong, feminine actress who comes to dominate her director.
Venus in Fur is in competition for the Palme d’Or, Cannes’ top honor, which is to be announced Sunday.
Polanksi is not the first participant of the prestigious film festival this year who has sparked outrage by making off-color comments about women.
French director Francois Ozon, who arrived in Cannes to present a film called Young and Beautiful about a 17-year-old prostitute told The Hollywood Reporter that many women share a fantasy of selling their bodies for money, according to Agence France-Presse.