Polanski makes first appearance since release

Director attends Swiss jazz fest to watch wife perform

MONTREUX, Switzerland -- Roman Polanski made his first public appearance since being released this week from house arrest, attending the Montreux Jazz Festival on Saturday to watch his wife perform onstage.

The 76-year-old film director arrived at the Lake Geneva festival Saturday night in a sport utility vehicle with tinted windows. When he emerged, he brushed his fingers through his hair -- a trademark gesture -- then was ushered into an elevator. Security personnel protected him from an eager crush of photographers.

Polanski's wife, actress-singer Emmanuelle Seigner, performed shortly after his arrival, wearing a flannel shirt, a black hat and jeans.

In an interview earlier Saturday with Swiss television, excerpts of which were broadcast on France-2 television, Polanski thanked "the millions of people who kept sending me messages of support during those nine long months."

"I would also certainly thank my wife, Emmanuelle (and), my children, without whom I would have never been able to hold onto my dignity and perseverance," Polanski said.

The Oscar-winning director was freed Monday from seven months of house arrest at his Swiss chalet when Switzerland's government refused to extradite him to the United States. Before that, he served two months in prison as the Swiss government pondered whether he should be handed over to U.S. authorities to be sentenced for having sex with a 13-year-old girl in 1977.

Polanski still faces an Interpol warrant in effect for 188 countries.

"For the moment, I'm happy to be free and to be able to do the things I was kept from doing," Polanski said.

He said his son cut off the electronic bracelet that Swiss authorities had required him to wear while he was under house arrest.

"They told me to throw it away, that's it," Polanski said of the authorities. His son "couldn't stand it anymore," so he was given "the privilege" of removing the tracking device.

Seigner never mentioned her husband during an hourlong performance, but said she was "very happy" to be in Montreux. Polanski didn't appear onstage and it was unclear where he might have watched the concert from.

"That was the theme to 'Rosemary's Baby,'" Seigner said after her first song -- a reference to the 1968 film directed by Polanski.