Roman Polanski Receives Standing Ovation at Zurich Film Festival

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"Better late than never," said the director while receiving his Lifetime Achievement Award.

Roman Polanski received a 10-minute standing ovation on Tuesday at the Zurich Film Festival when he took the stage to receive his Lifetime Achievement Award, two years after it was originally bestowed onto him.

"Better late than never" the director said during the event. He thanked, in particular, the members of the Zurich prison staff for making his stay two years ago bearable. "I'm not kidding, far from it,” he said.

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Polanski, 78, flew back to Zurich to receive his award and accompanying adulation. The festival will follow the tribute with the world premiere of a "secret" documentary.

Polanski never received the award in 2009 because he never made it further than arriving at the Zurich airport. Swiss police arrested him on a U.S. warrant from 1978, when Polanski fled the country after pleading guilty to having unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl. What followed was months of house arrest, a long extradition battle and a media circus. It ended, as it began, with Polanski a free man.

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Polanski’s latest film, Carnage, starring Kate Winslet, Jodie Foster and Christoph Waltz, premiered Sept. 1 at the Venice Film Festival to the best reviews Polanski has seen since 2002's The Pianist.

Read more about Polanski’s return to the Zurich Film Festival here.