(Paris) The distributor of a Polish documentary on the childhood of American photographer Ryszard Horowitz and director Roman Polanski is alarmed by the film’s release in France, believing that it is paying the price for the controversies surrounding the filmmaker, which deny operators.

Walk in Krakow follows the Oscar-winning director for The Pianist (2003) for 1 hour 15 minutes through the streets of Krakow, alongside his childhood friend, Ryszard Horowitz. The film, a look back at the tragic childhood of these two Holocaust survivors, is signed by two Poles, Mateusz Kudla and Anna Kokoszka-Romer.

The documentary, which is due out on July 5, is currently only scheduled in two theaters in France, one in Rouen and the other in Paris, l’Arlequin, its distributor Michèle told AFP. Halberstadt (ARP). The theater programmers are “refusing to see it,” she added: “they’re telling me that, in context, it’s better not to” program it.

“The exhibitors are cautious and not very courageous,” assures AFP the owner of the Harlequin, Sophie Dulac, explaining that she was convinced by “the quality” of the film, which does not address life at all. adult of the filmmaker.

Questioned by AFP, the leader of a major French cinema network rejects these accusations, saying that his teams have seen the film and decided not to distribute it because of its quality.

According to him, the distributor is “looking for controversy” over a film that is not even by Polanski. “It’s much more pragmatic: there are a lot of films in this period, it’s a documentary that is not very good, TV quality. There is absolutely no form of censorship,” he insists.

A boss of another large art house in the Paris region confirms that the film has been seen by his teams, but “did not convince, especially in a context where many good films are released”.

Persona non grata in Hollywood, Roman Polanski is the target of old charges of sexual assault and rape, which he disputes, but which have earned him prosecution in the United States for more than 40 years.

It is only since the release in 2019 of J’accuse and its César for best director that his case has become a symbol in France of the fight against sexual violence in the cinema world.

Since then, the director has kept a low profile, but has shot a new film in Switzerland, The Palace, with Mickey Rourke and Fanny Ardant. It is due out in Italy on September 28, a few weeks after the Venice Film Festival. No French or American release date has been announced.