Controversial director Polanski to show new film at Cannes

CONTROVERSIAL director Roman Polanski – who is still wanted in the United States for the statutory rape of a 13-year-old girl – will premiere his new film at the Cannes film festival next month, the organisers said Thursday.

From a True Story – which stars Polanski's French wife Emmanuelle Seigner and former Bond actress Eva Green – will be shown in Cannes outside the main competition.

The maker of Chinatown and Rosemary's Baby was forced to withdraw from the "French Oscars" – the Cesars – earlier this year after protests by feminists.

Polanski has been on the run for almost four decades for having unlawful sex with the teenager at film star Jack Nicholson's house in Los Angeles in 1977.

Polanski, 83, failed to negotiate a return to the US this month.

However, his victim Samantha Geimer – who wants the case dropped so she can get on with her life – lashed out Tuesday at prosecutors, claiming they were using the case to further their careers rather than resolve it.

"Celebrity cases should not be misused by those like yourselves for some limelight and career advancement," Geimer wrote in a scathing letter to Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey and his deputy Michele Hanisee, who are handling Polanski's case.

The Franco-Polish director has been engaged in a decades-long cat-and-mouse game with US officials seeking his extradition, before a global audience split between continuing outrage and forgiveness for his acts.

Polanski admitted statutory rape after a number of more serious charges were dropped, and spent an initial 42 days in jail before being released.

But in 1978, convinced a judge was going to scrap his plea deal and send him to prison for decades, he fled to France and has been on the run ever since.

From a True Story centres on a female writer who is plagued by an obsessive admirer.

Cannes festival organisers also announced that Swedish director Ruben Ostlund's drama The Square<?i> has been added to competition for the festival's top prize, the Palme d'Or.

Chinese director Li Ruijun, best known for Fly with the Crane is another late entry into the sidebar competition Un Certain Regard with Walking Past the Future alongside Argentinian film La Cordillera by Santiago Mitre.

The Cannes film festival runs from May 17 to 28. — AFP