Roman Polanski makes first Paris appearance

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Director Roman Polanski, freed in July after Switzerland refused a US extradition request, told AFP on Monday he was happy to find his friends again during his first public outing in Paris since his release.

"I am happy to be in Paris, to find my friends again," the 76-year-old director said during the opening of a new exhibition on feminine hairstyles through the history of cinema, "Brune/Blonde" at the French Cinematheque.

Polanski had been under house arrest pending the US demand, refused in mid-July, for him to be sent to California to face justice for unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl in 1977.

The French-Polish Oscar-winning director of "The Pianist" and "Chinatown" was welcomed in Paris by a crowd including actress and singer Arielle Dombasle and the veteran "Z" filmmaker Costa-Gavras.

"He is a great director who has been badly treated. He is free and that is what matters. He is preparing a film and that is even more important," the director of the French Cinematheque Serge Toubiana said.

Polanski, whose first public appearance after his release was in July at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, will begin shooting in early 2011 an adaptation of Yasmina Reza's play "God of Carnage", about two pairs of parents.

Since his release Polanski has been staying in an undisclosed location and his lawyer has said he would not be making any public statement.

© 2010 AFP

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