Story by: Jack Foley
CONTROVERSIAL documentary, Fahrenheit 9/11, has won the prestigious
Palme d'Or for Michael Moore, to place yet more pressure on George
Bush ahead of its anticipated release in America this Summer.
The film explores the aftermath of September 11, 2001, and the
war on Iraq, alleging connections between the US President and
top Saudi families, including the Bin Ladens.
It also marks the first time that US troops were caught on camera
abusing Iraqi prisoners.
And it uses Moore's trademark satirical style to accuse Bush
of stealing the presidential election, in 2000, and of ignoring
terrorism warnings ahead of the September 11 attacks, of 2001,
on the World Trade Center.
When it was shown at Cannes at the beginning of the week, it
received a 15-minute standing ovation, and was immediately followed
by a world-wide media frenzy.
Its Palme d'Or triumph makes it the first documentary to win
the top prize since Jacques Cousteau's The Silent World, in 1956.
Accepting the accolade, an overwhelmed Moore asked: "What
have you done?"
He then continued: "I'm completely overwhelmed by this.
"I want to make sure if I do nothing else for the rest of
this year, that those who died in Iraq have not died in vain."
Thanking the jury, which was headed by Kill
Bill director, Quentin Tarantino, he added: "You will
ensure that the American people will see this movie... You have
put a huge light on this."
Moore was, of course, referring to the trouble he has had in
securing a release for the film in his home country, following
accusations that the White House, itself, had tried to block the
making of the documentary and that Disney had decided not to release
Miramax, a subsidiary of Disney, is still hoping to negotiate
a release date in the States, which Moore hopes will be Independence
Day - as he is determined that as many Americans as possible see
the film and then make the right choice at the next US Presidential
The film-maker, who won an Oscar for his last documentary, Bowling
For Columbine, is a very vocal opponent of George Bush, prompting
one US publication, The Hollywood Reporter, to accuse him of waging
a one-man war against the president, in the form of Fahrenheit
It went on to accuse him of 'pioneering a reality film as an
But other US newspapers have been positive, including The Washington
Post, Time Magazine and British newspapers, including the Independent
and the Telegraph - the film also criticises British Prime Minister,
Tony Blair's support of Bush.
Fahrenheit 9/11 was competing against 18 other films for the
Among the other Cannes winners were:
l Old Boy, by South Korean director
Park Chan-wook, which took the Grand Prize;
l Thai director, Apichatpong Weerasethakul's
film, Tropical Malady, and actress, Irma P. Hall, for her part
in The Ladykillers, took Jury Prizes;
l Exiles won the director's award
for French film-maker, Tony Gatlif;
l Yagira Yuuya, a 14-year-old Japanese
boy, won the best actor prize for his performance in Nobody Knows
l Maggie Cheung, from Hong Kong,
won best actress, for her performance in the film, Clean
lKeren Yedaya's Or won the Golden
Camera award for best film by a first-time director.