Berlin film festival turns 60 without Polanski

Wed Feb 10, 2010 6:23pm EST
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By Mike Collett-White

BERLIN (Reuters) - The Berlin film festival turns 60 this year, and a host of Hollywood stars will walk the red carpet over the next 10 days to mark the anniversary.

One who will not is Roman Polanski, whose latest movie "The Ghost Writer" has its world premiere at the event on Friday but who is under house arrest in a Swiss chalet.

Organizers are hoping that A-listers like Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio, jury member Renee Zellweger and Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan make up for his absence and ensure 2010 is a success after criticism of the quality of recent editions.

The opening film, kicking off a crush of screenings, interviews, parties and dealmaking in Berlin, is Chinese movie "Apart Together" directed by Wang Quan'an who won the best film Golden Bear in 2007 for "Tuya's Marriage."

Apart Together follows a group of aging ex-soldiers of the National People's Party who get permission to return to the mainland from Taiwan for the first time since they were forced to retreat to the island in 1949.

Lui Yansheng is not going back to see family members like the others, however, but to seek out his long-lost love and their son who was born after he fled over 50 years earlier.

The Ghost Writer premieres on Friday, and Polanski's arrest in September means media interest in the political thriller starring Ewan McGregor and Pierce Brosnan will be intense.

Polanski, the 76-year-old Oscar-winning maker of classics such as "Chinatown" and "Rosemary's Baby," is now fighting extradition to the United States to face sentencing over a 1977 case of unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl.   Continued...