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Culture

Roman Polanski named best director at European Film Awards

French-Polish director Roman Polanski has been honored as best director at the European Film awards for his political thriller "The Ghost Writer." Also up for the prize was the German comedy "Soul Kitchen."

Roman Polanski

Polanski also won best director at Germany's Berlinale

Roman Polanski's "The Ghost Writer" stole the show at this year's edition of the European Film Awards, scooping six awards at the ceremony in the Estonian capital Tallinn.

Polanski was honored as best director, with his political thriller picking up awards for best film music, script and production design.

Pierce Brosnan in Roman Polanski's The Ghost Writer

Pierce Brosnan stars in Polanski's "The Ghost Writer"

The movie, based on author Robert Harris' bestselling novel "The Ghost," features actor Pierce Brosnan as a former British prime minister - loosely modeled on Tony Blair - being probed for war crimes and torture allegations. He hires a ghost writer (Ewan McGregor) to pen his memoirs, who soon stumbles upon a web of transatlantic intrigue. McGregor won a best actor award for his performance.

Polanski, the Oscar-winning director of "The Pianist," was unable to go to Tallinn to pick up his award in person.

The 76-year old faces charges in the US accusing him of sex with a minor and he would risk being arrested by traveling. He did however send a video message to the ceremony.

In February, The Ghost Writer won the best director prize at the Berlin International Film Festival.

'Soul Kitchen' loses out

Germany's "Soul Kitchen" by director Fatih Akins had also been nominated for best film but in the end failed to convince the jury.

A scene from the film Soul Kitchen

Germany's Soul Kitchen was in the frame for best film award

The comedy is about a young Hamburg restaurant owner who spirals into decline and tries to sell his business after his long-term girlfriend leaves him.

Swiss-born actor Bruno Ganz, internationally renowned for his portrayal of Hitler in the 2004 film "Der Untergang" ("Downfall") received a lifetime achievement award.

The award for best cinematographer went to Giora Bejach for the Israeli war drama "Lebanon," set during the 1982 offensive in Lebanon. Best actress prize went to Sylvie Testud for her part in the film "Lourdes."

The European Film Awards were first held in 1988 with an eye to rival the US Oscars. Winners are chosen by the 2,300-strong European Film Academy with members including actors, directors, producers and critics.

Author: Andreas Illmer (AFP, dpa)
Editor: Richard Connor

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