Veteran filmmaker, Roman Polanski, was honoured with a lifetime achievement award at France’s prestigious Lumiere Awards on Friday.
Born to Jewish parents in Paris, 1933, Polanski was raised and educated in Poland. In the 1950s, he took up acting before studying at the Lodz Film School. His early shorts such as The Fat and the Lean (1961), and Ssaki (1962) showed his taste for dark humour and curiosity in bizarre human relationships.
In 1968, Polanski went to Hollywood, where he made the psychological thriller Rosemary’s Baby. However, after the brutal murder of his wife Sharon Tate by the infamous Manson gang in 1969, the director returned to Europe. In 1974, he appeared with a US release of Chinatown. It seemed the beginning of the promising Hollywood career, but after his conviction for the statutory rape of a 13-year old girl, Polanski fled from America to avoid prison.
In 1989, Polanski married French actress Emmanuelle Seigner. They have two children, daughter Morgane and son Elvis. Polanski and his children speak Polish at home.
He still cannot enter the country without being arrested. Accordingly, after winning the best director Oscar for The Pianist (2002) he received the award five months after the ceremony. Harrison Ford presented Polanski with the award in Paris.
His most recent release is The Ghost Writer (2010), a fictionalized thriller loosely based on the life of former British prime minister Tony Blair. It swept the European Film Awards and may land Polanski another Oscar nomination.