Roman Polanski’s film about the Dreyfus affair is undeniably good, but you just knew it was going to end badly when the film’s producers sat the director down with the French intellectual Pascal Bruckner for a Q&A featured in the movie’s press notes, distributed at the Venice Film Festival this August.

Before anyone had the chance to watch An Officer and a Spy, centered on the seismic fin de siècle scandal about anti-Semitism at the heart of the French establishment—and which has resurgent relevance today—they were dunked into a warm bath of contemporary male persecution complex, flowing with bitter, aging-man tears over Polanski’s suffering at the hands of what Bruckner called “neo-feminist McCarthyism.”