Embattled moviemaker Roman Polanski has landed the prestigious Best Director award at the Berlin Film Festival for his latest offering "The Ghost Writer". The 76-year-old was honored with the Silver Bear prize for his work on the political thriller, which stars Ewan McGregor and Pierce Brosnan.
The movie's producer Alain Sarde picked up the award on the filmmaker's behalf, as Polanski is currently under house arrest at his Swiss chalet, and he told the audience the director will be delighted with the honor. He said, "I am sure Roman will be very happy. However, when I was lamenting with him that he cannot be with us, he said to me, 'Even if I could, I wouldn't because the last time I went to a festival to get a prize, I ended up in jail.' "
The reference was a nod to Polanski's arrest in September 2009 when he was detained as he arrived in Switzerland to receive a lifetime achievement award at the Zurich Film Festival. He pleaded guilty to a charge of unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl in 1977 - but fled the U.S. before his sentence could be passed. A Los Angeles judge ruled on January 10 he must return to America to face sentencing.
"The Ghost Writer" was beaten to the Best Film award by "Bal" (Honey) at the film festival's prizegiving on Saturday, February 20.