Roman Polanski missed his own party, but was still the centre of attention today as his first movie in five years made its debut at the Berlin film festival.
The Ghost Writer, based on a novel by Robert Harris, stars Pierce Brosnan as a former British prime minister, Olivia Williams as his wife and Ewan McGregor as a ghost writer hired to complete his memoirs on a rain-swept island off the US east coast.
The movie, Polanski's first since Oliver Twist in 2005, was near-complete by the time he was arrested in Switzerland in September, producer Robert Benmussa said - leaving him confident that it would be ready as planned for the Berlin festival.
"Roman continued to work on the film through courier packages that we sent to him in prison through his Swiss lawyer," Benmussa told reporters ahead of its world premiere. "Then, when he was in his chalet, he continued to work on the movie, putting the last touches."
Polanski is under house arrest at his chalet in Gstaad, awaiting a Swiss decision on whether to extradite him to the US to face possible further sentencing in a 32-year-old sex case.
He has been trying to resolve his US case in absentia for having sex in 1977 with a 13-year-old girl. Polanski fled the US on February 1, 1978, the day he was to be formally sentenced.