Roman Polanski has said the woman he raped when she was just 13 was a 'double victim' after she was caught up in the media glare of his arrest two years ago.
The 78-year-old Oscar-winning director, during the screening of a documentary of his life at the Zurich Film Festival, said Samantha Geimer had been left scarred twice after the rape 35 years ago.
But he stopped short of making a full apology and joked 'better late than never' as he picked up a lifetime achievement award in the Swiss city.
Recognition: The 78-year-old Oscar winner was given a lifetime achievement award at the Zurich Film Festival, two years after he was arrested at the city's airport as he went to collect the same award. pic/afp
Towards the end of Laurent Bouzereau's film Roman Polanski: A Film Memoir, the Polish-French director said, "She [Samantha Geimer] is a double victim: my victim and a victom of the press."
He added, "Friends, what can I say? Better late than never. Two years, day for day. Certain parts of it I would rather forget. But I'm happy to be here, because I know that it was not only a blow to me, to my family, but also to the festival itself. It's a very moving moment for me."
In 1977, Polanski plied the teenager with champagne and drugs during a photo shoot in Los Angeles, before raping her at the Hollywood home of his friend, Jack Nicholson.
He was charged with six felony counts, including rape and sodomy, but pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor in a plea deal.
But he fled the US for Europe because he thought the judge would go back on the deal.
The Rosemary's Baby director was arrested by Swiss police at Zurich airport in 2009 on the US warrant as he went to collect the achievement award. He spent months in prison and later house arrest, but successfully avoided extradition to the US after the Swiss government refused to deport him.
The documentary, shot while he was under house arrest in Gstaad, Switzerland, recounts his Polish roots and includes footage of World War Two and the Nazi invasion of Poland.
In it, he talks about his mother's death, the pain of his father remarrying and fleeing as a Nazi soldier tried to shoot him during the war.
Critics have described the secretive documentary as "one long, wide-ranging conversation" between Polanski and producer Andrew Braunsberg, an old friend.
It makes only a brief mention of the rape charges.