When the Swiss Justice Ministry rejected an extradition request from the United States for Polanski last summer, it was just the latest chapter in a story every bit as dramatic and complex as one of the director’s films.
Born Raimund Liebling in Paris, Polanski survived the Holocaust by escaping from the Krakow ghetto, although his mother was killed in Auschwitz.
After the war he worked his way up in the Polish film world, moving to Hollywood in the 1960s and going on to make Oscar-winning classics including Rosemary’s Baby, Chinatown, and The Pianist.
Jewish comedian Sacha Baron Cohen is to take on perhaps his most controversial role yet.
Having played the fast-talking Ali G, the Kazakhstani businessman Borat and the fashionista Bruno, he will now play Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
Mr Baron Cohen, who was just eight years old when Saddam took control of Iraq, will be the star of a Hollywood love story about an Iraqi leader’s illicit affair with a poor subject trapped in an unhappy marriage.
The brilliant director Darren Aranofsky first came to notice with a low-budget independent film called Pi about a paranoid mathematical genius pursued by Chasidic numerologists. But it was with the terrific, eye-poppingly inventive but harrowing drugs film Requiem for a Dream that he made his reputation.
Since then, Aranofsky's work has ranged from the slated science fiction effort The Fountain to The Wrestler which won a Best Actor Oscar for Mickey Rourke.
The glitz and glamour of events like the Oscars make the film industry look like a one-way street to fame and fortune. But do not be fooled, warns Canada's most successful movie producer, Robert Lantos. "I think anybody who chooses to make films for money is out of his mind," says the man behind award-winning films such as David Cronenberg's Crash and Eastern Promises, Istvan Szabo's Sunshine, and Jeremy Podewsa's Fugitive Pieces. "It's so hard to make a movie - it takes such a long time, so much effort - that to make a film, for me, for any reason than my own passion, makes no sense."