Oliver Twist: Oscar-winning director Roman Polanski says his next film will be based on Charles Dickens' classic novel "Oliver Twist."

Shooting is scheduled to begin in the Czech Republic by midyear. The book has been adapted for the screen by Ronald Harwood, who also wrote the screenplay for The Pianist.

"After directing 'The Pianist,' an extremely personal movie, I started to think about what I would do next," Polanski told reporters at a Sao Paulo movie theater on Monday night.

"A comedy? A police movie? To me, it seems impossible to go back to doing that kind of thing, to tell a trivial story."

The wish to make a movie for children came from watching his own small children, he said.

"I also thought about the children's books I used to love the most," he said.

The story tells the tale of a boy who runs away from an orphanage in Victorian England and joins a gang of young pickpockets working for a thief. David Lean's 1948 version starring Alec Guinness remains a film classic.

Polanski was visiting Brazil for a retrospective of his career. Talking about his work, the Polish-born director said he had no interest in filming events close to his life.

"That's why it took me so long to direct "The Pianist." I've always wanted to do something about it but I was waiting for some kind of material to come by, such as a book."

"Sometimes I read a book and feel like transforming it into images. I make movies the same way I make everything else, such as sports and love. I want to gain satisfaction. I love my job," he said.

"The Pianist," his most recent work, won the Oscar and the Palme D'or in 2003, the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival in France. The movie is based on the memoirs of a Jewish musician who survived the German occupation of Warsaw, Poland. Polanski, whose mother died in a concentration camp, included elements of his own life in the film.

The Brazilian retrospective was scheduled to include short movies Polanski directed between 1957 and 1959 when he was studying at the Lodz movie school in Poland.

"I hope no one watches these movies," he said jokingly. "I'm a bit bothered by this. They were made within a movie-school context. I never thought they would be of any interest to the public."

Brian B.