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Film premiere

December 15, 2009

A new film by Roman Polanski, who's currently under house arrest in Switzerland, is set to premiere at the Berlinale in February. The news comes as the controversial director awaits possible extradition to the US.

Roman Polanski
Polanski is fighting extradition to the US over a 30-year-old caseImage: AP

Organizers said on Tuesday that the Polish-French filmmaker's new movie, “The Ghost Writer,” would feature at the 60th edition of the Berlin film festival scheduled to be held in the German capital from February 11 to 21.

The Oscar-winning director of "Chinatown" is confined to a Swiss chalet after being detained in September when he arrived in Switzerland to collect an award at the Zurich film festival.

US prosecutors have been trying to extradite the Franco-Polish Polanski, 76, since 1978 when he fled the country before he could be sentenced after admitting having unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl.

The director, who has French nationality, is fighting his extradition to the United States. He was recently granted bail on condition that he surrender his passport and wear an electronic cuff.

Journalists wait outside Polanski's chalet in Gstaad, Switzerland
Polanski's house arrest in this Swiss chalet has attracted enormous media attentionImage: AP

Swiss authorities have warned Polanski, who spent several weeks in jail, that he would forfeit his bail if he leaves his Alpine chalet, and Interpol has placed neighboring countries on alert in case he tries to flee.

Working in detention

Polanski has reportedly been furiously editing "The Ghost Writer," first in jail and then in his Gstaad chalet in order to have it ready in time for its maiden public screening during at the Berlin festival.

The film is based on the novel "The Ghost" by British writer Robert Harris and stars Pierce Brosnan and Ewan McGregor. It sees McGregor assigned to pen the autobiography of a former British prime minister modelled on Tony Blair who then goes on to uncover dark secrets. It also features Pierce Brosnan.

However, it seems unlikely that Polanksi will make an appearance on the red carpet.

Last week, his lawyers urged a California appeals court to dismiss his conviction, citing alleged misconduct by the trial judge, who died in 1993, in the case. But the prosecution argued that he has to appear in court himself to argue to have the case dropped.

Interesting mix

A view of the Berlinale palace during the 2009 festival
Organizers hope the mix of styles and genres will improve Berlinale's imageImage: AP

Alongside "The Ghost Writer," Martin Scorsese's "Shutter Island" starring Leonardo DiCaprio will also receive its world premiere in Berlin, albeit out of competition, organizers said. It's a horror film set in 1954 about the disappearance of a patient from a Massachusetts hospital for the criminally insane.

Others vying for the coveted Golden Bear award include "Na Putu" ("On the Path") by Bosnian director Jasmila Zbanic and "Bal" ("Honey") by Turkey's Semih Kaplanoglu.

Also among the line-up announced on Tuesday is German-Iranian production “Shekarchi” (The Hunter) and "My Name is Khan" starring Bollywood heartthrob Shah Rukh.

Editor: Trinity Hartman