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As Polanski fights for freedom, Swiss film group honors his work with retrospective

November 5, 2009 |  7:27 am

While justice officials in Zurich, Switzerland, decide the fate of Roman Polanski, a Swiss film society has honored the famed director with a retrospective of his work.

The Swiss Film Archive organized the event, which included showings of Polanski's films and commentary from various speakers.

Organizers stressed that the event was not meant to offer support amid the director's legal troubles but simply to examine the meaning of his work, according to news website Swiss Info.

Polanski was arrested in Zurich on an warrant related to a three-decade-old unlawful intercourse case involving a 13-year-old girl. L.A. authorities want Polanski returned to the U.S. so he can face sentencing in the case. Swiss authorities said Polanski would face as many as two years behind bars in the U.S.

Swiss justice officials have rejected three attempts by Polanski's attorneys to have the director released on bail.

Francois Albera, a professor of cinema at Lausanne University, said the film retrospective was aimed at looking specifically at his cinematic work -- not to debate the director's behavior in the L.A. case.

"When you look at a Caravaggio painting, you don't think about the fact that he killed someone and went to prison; you admire his work," he told Swiss Info. "Or if you read a book by Marquis de Sade, you don't worry about his lack of morals for which he was imprisoned -- we have to re-qualify the dimensions of this affair."

-- Shelby Grad