Two years later, Roman Polanski is finally getting what was coming to him.
Meaning, the 78-year-old director was honored today with a lifetime achievement award at the Zurich Film Festival, the very honor he landed in Switzerland in 2009 to collect, only to end up under house arrest while Los Angeles prosecutors tried to revive his three-decade-old statutory-rape case.
"What I can say. Better late than never," Polanski said upon receiving his award as he was treated to a standing ovation. "It's a very moving moment for me."
The Swiss Justice Ministry ultimately refused an extradition request from the United States, thereby ending Polanski's seven months of confinement to his vacation chalet, which followed two months in a Swiss jail.
The Oscar winner has lived mainly in France since fleeing the U.S. in 1978, right before he was expected to cop to one count of intercourse with a minor and be sentenced to time served for having sex with a 13-year-old girl. The 2008 documentary Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired discussed the filmmaker's concern that the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office and the judge on his case were conspiring to send him back to prison, rather than abide by the terms of the plea deal.
While his attorneys argued that their client was a victm 34 years ago of gross judicial misconduct, even Polanski's victim, Samantha Geimer, petitioned the court to drop its case against Polanski, saying she once and for all wanted to put the experience behind her.
Another documentary featuring a series of interviews with the Chinatown director detailing his side of his legal travails is expected to screen sometime during the Zurich Film Festival, which runs until Oct. 2.