News photos show that Mattie Venezic looked as if he had come out of a Barrell feud; Wildly, disappointed, his hands cracked behind his back.
The Oscar-nominated cinematographer, who shot “A Star Is Born”, “Straight Outta Compton,” “Black Swan” and “Iron Man”, was arrested in northern Poland, accused of slapping a paradise , Who came to his side, collapsed in a hotel lobby during a film festival.
Hollywood’s business news and gossip sites reported the November 2018 incident, and Mr Libetic’s colleagues made light of it a few days later when he returned to the United States.
But the joke was cast on Mr. Libetic, who says he cannot remember anything about his downfall or his aftermath. He admits that he was drinking but was afraid, he said, with some evidence, that he was intentionally intoxicated.
Inconsistent that he is now four and a half years in prison.
Although Polish authorities pursue several thousand assault cases, with no fanfare, the country’s top law enforcement officer, the Minister of National Justice, Zbigniew Ziobro took interest in this.
He commented on Mr. Libetic’s case during a press conference the next day after the cinematographer’s arrest. A lot of paramedics were being attacked nationwide, Mr Ziebro said, and he urged prosecutors to “demand more severe penalties”.
Polish paramedics are, in fact, raising an alarm about violence at work. A recent study found that almost all paramedics surveyed had experienced aggression on the job, although most had not reported the attack to the police.
But Marcin Matiščák, a law professor at the University of Warsaw who studies Poland’s criminal justice system and is a critic of the national government, said he felt Mr. Zeebro would burn the Libetic case as a defender of his image Was blown out of proportion. common man.
“He was used by the Minister of Justice for his own populist propaganda,” the professor said.
Mr Zeebro’s office said in a statement that the justice minister had not heard of Mr Libatik’s arrest, but that “attention was raised to the issue due to the increasing number of cases of attacks on doctors, paramedics and medical staff providing aid” is required.”
“While performing their duties outside the hospital, for example at mass events and dangerous places, they are often victims of violence on behalf of people under the influence of alcohol or psychoactive substances,” the statement said.
Mr Libetik’s defense counsel, Marcin Multaski, has argued that the national government has improperly noted the case, placing an unusual leaning on local prosecutors. And although first offenders rarely receive harsh sentences, Mr. Libetik worries that, if he is convicted, prosecutors will serve a full three-year term for assault, along with another 1.5-year term. Will insist on a second charge – “wybbkk chuligański,” or hooliganism. They had tried to hold him for months without bail, until he delivered a verdict of the judge.
“I’m basically guilty until proven innocent and it scares me,” Mr. Libetik said speaking from his home in Los Angeles.
He now fears extradition to a country where, in November 2018, he was treated like a rock star for the first time. He went there to participate in Camarimage, a festival for photography directors that attracts a fantastic international crowd in Bydgoszcz, about 180 miles northwest of Warsaw.
Mr. Libetic is known among the cinematographers and their fans for the nimble, highly polished shots that plunge the audience into the characters’ longing hymns, and the danger, and excitement of their world. He earned a reputation for taking risks early in his career after shooting his film buddy Darren Aronofsky’s early fever-dreamy films, among them “Pie”, and briefly “Request for Dream” (he turned six Are) feature films together). In an email, Mr. Aronofsky said Mr. Libatic described Mr. Libatic as a dog perfectionist with a master’s eye: “His passion never diminishes,” Mr. Aronofsky said. Mr. Libatic has also worked with Spike Lee, Joel Schumacher and John Favreau.
Stephen Pizzello, the head of the American Cinematographer magazine and one of Mr. Libatic’s long-time friends, said the editor said Mr. Libatic was “a legend” at the Polish festival. “Pizzello said,” Matties is in that class, who get involved. “” Everyone loves men. “
On his last night, Mr. Libetic and his partner, Mary Ellen Wallace, went to the pub and partyed during mourning.
After midnight, Mr. Libetic drank beer at someone’s behest – he doesn’t remember who pressed the vodka drink in his hand.
After that, a curtain fell in his memory, he said.
But Ms. Walls, who was with him, said that after 4 o’clock in the morning, inside a club, Mr. Libetic began to stumble. He was talking vaguely, and later wept. A cab took them to the hotel and the driver laid Mr. Libatic on a couch. But he was of dead weight, and had slipped to the floor, where he began to speak and chant with his mouth. Ms. Wells cried to the concierge for help.
Minutes later, two paramedics arrived.
According to prosecutors, Libetic tried to help him when he was amputating a tooth of a paramedic and later killing a policeman.
Ms Wallace said the paramedics were thick with Mr Libetic as they placed him on the glazed tiled floor towards a more open space. Mr. Libetic replied that if attacked, fluttered and shouted, and then took a swing, one of which was attached to the paramedic’s face, he said.
After that, Ms. Walls said, “all hell breaks loose.” He said paramedics jumped on Mr. Libetik, and suffered injuries to his face. As Mr. Libetic’s nose was bleeding, he said that one paramedic stopped Mr. Libatic, while another began squeezing Mr. Libatic’s head with his hands, with Ms. Wes stating that Mr. Libatic had someone do not Honour. A video of Ms. Wallace shows Mr. Libetic’s face, shrouded and inadvertently waving, his face stained with blood, a creeper of red liquid on the pillow on his head, blood stains on the floor. When police arrived, they tied Mr. Libatic to the ambulance seat and took him to the hospital.
Ms. Wallace and Mr. Pizzello also arrived there. Mr. Pizzello was given permission to see his friend, who was walking into a nearby room, handcuffed to a chair. At first, Mr. Libatic did not recognize him, Mr. Pizzello said in an interview, and this worried him. He had seen Mr. Libetic only a few hours earlier, suggestive but charming. Mr. Pizzello said that two police officers commented that there was no way for Mr. Libatic to be let alone drunk by alcohol.
Mr. Libatic’s memories of that morning are blurred. He said that he remembers waking up in the hospital, pain in his wrists and back, pain on his face. He would never, he says, pass out before drinking alcohol, or came close to making a scene, his friends claimed.
“I remember I was trying to remain calm,” Mr. Libetic said. “And I’m trying to remember things.” They got together saying they had killed someone, and they would have to apologize, which they later did in court, saying that they were sorry, remembering the victims of their actions, the people of Bydgoszcz, and the Camrim Festival organizers .
Mr. Libatic was kept in prison for several nights, until a judge set him free, rejecting the prosecution’s request that he be held until trial. Libatic was legally allowed to leave the country, but feared being held up at the airport, so he and Ms. Walls were evacuated from Germany by car at night
Two days later he returned to the US, where he later learned that prosecutors had appealed the decision to release him and were seeking $ 26,000 as bail, which was paid by Mr. Libatik.
But she started working, opposed to downsizing and mentioning the case, even after some people told her about it being a wild night. When the Hollywood Awards season came into gear at the end of 2018, he extensively publicized his work on “A Star Is Born”, although it earned him his second Academy Award nomination. He was hired to shoot “Birds of Prey (and the brilliant Harley Quinn’s brilliant),” and Ryan Murphy’s “The Prom,” a musical film to be released next month on Netflix.
Back in Poland, the case lasted from one year to the next. Mr. Libatic’s lawyer is challenging the prosecution’s argument that he was wildly intoxicated. According to official reports, a high sky level of 0.30 percent was seen in the blood taken from Mr. Libetic in the hospital. (In New York State, drunk driving charges start at a blood alcohol level of .08 percent).
But Mr Mitsuki said that is found to be false, and he said he has sued separately in court accusing paramedics and doctors who run into Mr Libetic of misconduct, although on what basis he But will not elaborate.
The defense cannot definitively prove that Mr. Libetic was given the drug, only that he could be. In view of the increasing number of drugs in Poland last year, the United States Embassy released A safety warning. Earlier this year, a toxicologist appointed by the defense reported that DNA samples taken from Mr. Libetic’s hair indicated that he could have been taken with the so-called rape drug GHB. High levels of dextromethorphan, or DXM, a cough medicine stimulant used recreationally for “robo-tripping”, were also found. Mr. Mitsuki stated that his client had not consumed the substance either voluntarily.
“It is clear that the prosecutor’s office in this case is not acting independently and is actually following the superiors’ orders, not trying to establish the truth,” Mr. Mitsuki said.
A spokesman for the prosecutors’ office in Bydgoszcz, Włodzimierz Marszałkowski, said the toxicology test of the hair samples cited by the defense was questionable because it was taken nearly two months after the incident.
Mr. Marszlokowski also denied that Mr. Libetic was roughly handled and said he was behaving like anyone else. The spokesman said Mr Libatic’s avowal did not know what had happened and had no control over his actions, only hurt his case.
“In Poland, the fact that you are under the influence of alcohol does not constitute a frugal factor, but is a serious one,” Mr. Marszlokowski said.
Mr. Libatik’s trial is scheduled to begin in February and he and Ms. Walls are expected to receive permission from the United States to testify on a video link.
Even during the epidemic, Mr. Libetic is still working, shooting Olivia Wilde’s latest photo, “Don’t Worry Darling,” near Palm Springs. But he said he had turned down Plum’s opportunities to work overseas amidst the shooting of Bradley Cooper’s new Leonard Bernstein film in London, as he is no longer comfortable leaving the country.
He and Ms. Vail are now engaged, but have stopped marrying due to the stress of a case, with friends saying that Mr. Libetic presents as a combative alcoholic, as someone they don’t recognize Find it.
“I’ve spent a lot of time with Mattie all over the world,” Mr. Aronofsky said, “and he’s always a gentleman.”