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Saturday 24 February 2018

Polanski named best director

Roman Polanski is under house arrest at his Swiss chalet
Roman Polanski is under house arrest at his Swiss chalet

A Turkish film which tells the story of a six-year-old boy who stops speaking when his father disappears - Bal (or Honey) - has won the top honour at this year's Berlin film festival.

Roman Polanski won the award for best director for The Ghost Writer. The film's producers accepted the award on behalf of the 76-year-old, who is under house arrest in Switzerland.

Producer Alain Sarde said Polanski told him he would not have attended the festival had he been free because the last time he travelled to accept an award he "landed in jail".

Polanski is under house arrest at his chalet in Gstaad, awaiting a Swiss decision on whether to extradite him to the US to face possible further sentencing in a 32-year-old sex case.

A joint Silver Bear for best actor was awarded to the stars of the Russian film, How I Ended The Summer. Grigory Dobrygin and Sergy Puskpalis played opposite one another as an older and younger researcher who clash at a polar station on an island in the Arctic Circle.

Shinobu Terajima won the best actress for starring as a wife forced to tolerate the tyranny of her husband who returns disabled from the second Chinese-Japanese war in the Japanese film Caterpillar.

A Romanian film, If I Want To Whistle, I Whistle, by Florin Serban was awarded the Silver Bear runner-up prize. It depicts the tough story of a youth who panics that his mother will flee the country with his younger brother while he is in a juvenile reform centre.

The winning film, Honey, tells the story of a six-year-old boy who stops speaking when his father disappears. It was filmed in the lush mountains of the Turkish countryside where the boy goes in search of his father, a beekeeper. Director Semih Kaplanoglu said the award was "like a rebirth" and he hoped that it would be an inspiration to young film-makers in Turkey.

The Ghost Writer, based on a novel by Robert Harris, stars Pierce Brosnan as a former British prime minister, Olivia Williams as his wife and Ewan McGregor as a ghost writer hired to complete his memoirs on a rain-swept island off the US east coast.

The film, Polanski's first since Oliver Twist in 2005, was nearly complete at the time of his arrest in Zurich on September 26 last year.

Press Association

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