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Last Updated:  Sunday, 23 February, 2003, 01:41 GMT
Pianist sweeps French awards
Roman Polanski speaks after winning a Cesar for Best Film during the prestigious 28th Nuit des Cesars French film awards at the Chatelet Theatre in Paris 22 February 2003
Roman Polanski's film has personal resonance for him
Director Roman Polanski's The Pianist has won six prizes at the Cesars - France's version of the Oscars - including best picture.

Polanski also won the award for best director while US actor Adrien Brody won the best actor prize for the English-language film.

The film is based on the true story of a Jewish piano player who survived the horrors of the Warsaw ghetto during World War II.

Last year the film won the prestigious Palme d'Or award at the Cannes Film Festival and has been nominated for six awards at next month's Oscars ceremony.

At the Cesars ceremony, held in Paris on Saturday night, The Pianist also won awards for best sound, best scenery and best music.

US winners

US actress Meryl Streep was awarded an honorary Cesar for her long list of film roles.

"This award is very important to me," she said in her acceptance speech, speaking in French.

"This Cesar represents the work of my life and I am honoured."

Spanish director Pedro Almodovar's Talk to Her was named Best Film in the European Union - a new category.

US film-maker Michael Moore's documentary Bowling for Columbine, which examines gun culture in the US, won the best foreign film category.

He used his acceptance speech to criticise US policy towards Iraq.

It is not clear whether Poland-born Polanski, who now lives in France, will travel to Los Angeles for the 23 March Academy Awards ceremony.

He fled the US in 1978 after being convicted of having sex with an underage girl, and has not returned since. He faces arrest if he goes back to the US.

The Pianist is based on a memoir by Wladyslaw Szpilman but has personal resonance for Polanski.

The director's mother died at Auschwitz and he fought for his own survival as a child during the Holocaust.

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