4 Min Read
MONTREUX, Switzerland (Reuters) - Film director Roman Polanski, freed earlier this week from house arrest in Switzerland, attended a Saturday night concert given by his wife at the Montreux jazz festival.
The 76-year-old Polanski arrived with festival founder Claude Nobs for the performance by French actress and singer Emmanuelle Seigner on the closing night of the annual event on Lake Geneva, according to a Reuters witness.
Polanski was mobbed by photographers as he arrived with heavy security, but did not speak or appear on the stage during his wife's 55-minute set, which he watched from a VIP box.
Montreux is an hour's drive from the village of Gstaad where Polanski was kept under house arrest at his chalet from December until last Monday, when Swiss authorities announced they would not extradite him to the United States to face sentencing for having unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl in 1977.
Polanski was arrested last September 26 in Zurich, where he had been invited to receive an achievement award at a Swiss film festival, on the basis of a U.S. extradition request.
Before attending Saturday's show, Polanski thanked the people of Gstaad in his first television interview since being released. "I'm not sure what I will do hereafter," he told Swiss station TSR. "For the moment I'm happy to be free."
"I never asked for special treatment," he also said.
Seigner, wearing a black hat, black jeans and boots, began her performance with the theme song from Polanski's 1968 film "Rosemary's Baby."
She also sang "Sing Sing," "Femme Fatale" and "Le Fantome," mixing English and French language numbers, many from "Dingue," her second album released this year.
Seigner was named on the line-up only a few weeks ago, stepping in to replace the group Black Dub whose frontman Daniel Lanois was injured in a motorcycle accident.
Polanski is a friend of Nobs, who founded the lakeside festival 44 years ago. Earlier on Saturday, Polanski was photographed by the Lausanne daily "24 Heures" arriving at Nobs's chalet.
Polanski, who has dual French and Polish nationality, pleaded guilty to having unlawful sex in Los Angeles with a minor. He fled before sentencing, saying he believed the judge would renege on a plea agreement under which the 42 days he had spent in detention for psychiatric assessment would constitute his full sentence.
Swiss officials turned down the U.S. extradition request, citing potential technical faults and saying it failed to clarify whether the director of "Chinatown" and "The Pianist" had in fact served his sentence more than 30 years ago.
The victim in the case said on Tuesday she hoped the matter would now be closed, but Polanski's legal team in the United States has called for a full inquiry into allegations of judicial misconduct three decades ago.
Samantha Geimer, who was 13 in 1977 when Polanski gave her drugs and champagne and had sex with her, has repeatedly asked for the case to be dropped.
Seigner appeared in the critically-acclaimed 2007 film by Julian Schnabel "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly," based on the memoir of Jean-Dominique Bauby, who was left with the "locked-in syndrome" after suffering a massive stroke.
The couple have two children, Morgane and Elvis.
Additional reporting by Catherine Bosley; Editing by Jon Hemming