Polanski feted by France’s Academie des Beaux Arts

Helmer honored in star-studded ceremony

PARIS — Director Roman Polanski became a lifelong member of France’s illustrious Academie des Beaux Arts (Academy of Fine Arts) on Wednesday in a star-studded ceremony.

The ceremony was followed by a champagne reception at which Polanski received his epee, which symbolizes membership in the Academy.

Film in the works

During the reception, Polanski told Daily Variety that he had a fresh film project in the works.

Actresses Catherine Deneuve and Kristin Scott Thomas were among scores of film industry people watching as Polanski, 66, wearing the academy’s traditional garb of embroidered jacket and pants, was welcomed into France’s creative arts establishment.

His wife, actress Emmanuelle Seigner, and their daughter, Morgan, also attended the ceremony which, according to a centuries-old tradition, took place inside the domed assembly room at the Institut de France on the Left Bank.

‘Well-deserved’

The director of “Rosemary’s Baby,” “Chinatown,” “Tess” and recently “The Ninth Gate” was officially welcomed to the academy by member Peter Ustinov, who declared that films had earned him the “well-deserved immortality” of a seat at the academy.

Polanski’s predecessor was French director Marcel Carne (“Les Enfants du Paradis,” “Quai des Brumes,” “Hotel du Nord”).

Other members, from all branches of the arts, include mime Marcel Marceau, singer Charles Trenet and fashion designer Pierre Cardin.

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