Two years after arrest, Polanski to attend Zurich film fest

Two years after his arrest in Zurich, director Roman Polanski will reattempt to attend the city's film festival to pick up the award that was intended for him in 2009, organisers of the event said on Thursday.  

Roman Polanski with his wife Emmanuelle Seigner in Cannes, 2011
Georges Biard

“We are especially proud to welcome Roman Polanski this year to receive his award,” said the festival’s directors Karl Spoerri and Nadja Schildknecht.

“We have always been tremendous admirers of his work and we are delighted that we will soon be able to express this to him in person,” they added in a statement.

Polanski was arrested on an international warrant on September 27th, 2009, upon his arrival at Zurich airport, while he was travelling to the film festival.

He fought the US extradition request over a child sex case dating back more than three decades, and finally convinced Bern to release him about 10 months after his dramatic arrest.

The Franco-Polish director had plied a girl called Samatha Geimer with champagne and drugs during a 1977 photo shoot at the Hollywood home of actor Jack Nicholson before having sex with her despite her protests.

The director was initially charged with six felony counts, including rape and sodomy. The charge was later reduced to unlawful intercourse after a plea deal agreed in part to spare his victim the ordeal of a trial.

Polanski later served 42 days at a secure unit undergoing psychiatric evaluation but fled the United States on the eve of his sentencing in 1978 amid fears the trial judge planned to go back on a previously agreed plea deal.

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‘Switzerlanders’: New film sheds light on ‘ordinary’ Swiss people

A new ‘reality’ film shows footage of how ‘ordinary’ people in Switzerland spent one summer day in 2019.

'Switzerlanders': New film sheds light on 'ordinary' Swiss people
A 'schwingen' competition is one of the scenes in the new movie. Photo by VALERIANO DI DOMENICO / AFP

“The largest collaborative Swiss film project of all time”, according to 20 Minuten newspaper was inspired by the 2011 documentary “Life in a Day”, produced by the English filmmaker Ridley Scott .

The newspaper, which helped get the project off the ground along with several other Swiss companies, described the movie as a “cross-section of our homeland from different perspectives, not only positive, but 100 percent real. Together they create an exceptional cinematic mosaic”.

As its title suggests, ‘Switzerlanders’, which was released last week, is based on tens of thousands of submissions its producers received from people from all over Switzerland, totaling 1,400 hours of collected video material.

The 80-minute film shows what people from different walks of life did on the first day of summer — June 21st — in 2019.


For instance, the movie shows a shepherd tending his flock in the mountains, a soldier talking about target practice, a glaciologist exploring the shrinking snow mass, a competition of ‘Schwingen’ — Swiss wrestling — young people at a climate change demonstration, and many others.

The stories recounted by the film’s protagonists are both positive and negative, reflecting their personal experiences on that particular day.

As cinemas are still closed in Switzerland and will not re-open until June 8th, ‘Switzerlanders’ is available for streaming in German, French, and Italian from iTunes, Teleclub, Sky, UPC, or