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Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 911 Wins Cannes Palme d'or

As predicted, Michael Moore takes home the Palme d'or for 'Fahrenheit 911',"the temperature in which freedom burns", the first documentary film to win the highest award at Cannes since Jacques Costeau's 'Silent World' in 1956.
Upon receiving the honor Moore exclaimed: "What have you done? I'm completely overwhelmed by this. Merci."
The film is an unusual documentary with interviews, news clips and free lance journalism, that reports the news that doesn't get reported by major networks about the Bush administration handling of 9/11 and aftermath, and the government relationship to the Bin Laden family. It has long been believed that the major US news bureaus favor US government policy on the war in Iraq and are less than critical. In this instance, the documentary triumphs by bringing home the news that otherwise has been surpressed. The Cannes jury apparently found this insightful style a vital factor for honoring the film with an award over the other competitors.
'Fahrenheit 911' which is still in the process of finding US distribution(Miramax has assured that it will be in place)was halted by parent company Disney. With the award it is now virtually guaranteed to be seen in the country of origin, with supposedly additional scenes added of relevance to the topic. Moore spent the final days at Cannes speaking with US journalists to maximize the film's exposure for when it is released in the US.
In other awards,the Grand Prix went to the South Korean film "Old Boy," the story of a man imprisoned for 15 years without any reason who laters seeks revenge on his abductors. Maggie Cheung won the best actress award for her role in "Clean",(France) as a woman who tries to quit a drug habit. Best actor went to 14 year old Yagira Yuuya in a film about children deserted by their mother in "Nobody Knows" (Japan).Irma P. Hall won a special jury acting award, a role that was refurbished for her in the Coen brothers remake of 'Lady Killers'.

Tony Gatlif won the director's award for "Exiles", a film about a young French couple who return to the land of their parents in Algeria.

The critically acclaimed Agnes Jaoui and Jean-Pierre Bacri, won the screenplay award for "Look at Me," a film about a young woman's anorexia.

Despite criticism of sequences of his film, Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul's won the third jury prize for "Tropical Malady", a film about two young men in love - and the first Thai film in the official selection.

First time director Keren Yedaya won the Camera d'or award for "Or," about a Tel Aviv prostitute, mother of a teenage girl, who becomes ill.
During the festival 10 day run there have been predictions for the major contenders for the top prizes. Prior to the screening of Wong Kar-wai's '2046, the film was assumed to be a possible choice. Walter Salles 'Motorcycle Diaries' was another rumored major contender. Envisioning a documentary film with a political theme of major contemporary relevance became obvious as the festival drew towards its close.

Moira Sullivan


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