Polanski is well known; the name of the director of Knife in the Water, Rosemary's Baby, Chinatown and The Pianist is recognised and respected internationally. Yet even film critics find it difficult to say what a 'Polanski film' is. This welcome book unravels the meanings of Polanski's films, devoting each of its chapters to an important aspect: the autobiographical factor, characters and narratives, literary adaptations like Tess and the recent Oliver Twist, Polanski's use of many genres, his music, represented ideology and so on. In so doing, it uncovers both the common elements in his films and the ambiguities and paradoxes of his cinema. Ewa Mazierska reveals the essentials of Polanski the 'cinema kid', influenced by many people and movements, but like a magpie interested in everything that he encounters, moving easily between Europe and America, between low budget and big budget endeavours. This book is the perfect introduction to Polanski's films and at the same time delves deep into their complexities - sharing a real joy in their riches.