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Polanski named Best Director at Berlin Film Festival

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Feb 21, 2010 | 4:30am EST

The 76 year old was honoured 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 honour.

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 (09) 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 last month (Jan10) 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 (20Feb10).

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