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Fahrenheit 9/11 - Tarantino maintains film won on merit



Story by: Jack Foley

THE decision to award Michael Moore’s controversial documentary, Fahrenheit 9/11, the Palme d’Or has been defended by Cannes jury head, Quentin Tarantino.

The documentary, which alleges links between the US President, George Bush, and top Saudi families, including the Bin Ladens, walked off with the prestigious accolade at the showpiece ceremony, beating the likes of Shrek 2.

But it immediately drew criticism from people who felt that the Cannes jury had bowed to political pressure and provided Moore with a world-wide forum for his anti-Bush views.

Moore, himself, has already stated his intention that the film draws an end to the current US administration in this, an election year.

But Tarantino, who had told a recent London press conference for his Kill Bill sequel, that the best film would win, maintained that the film’s overt political themes had not influenced anyone’s choice.

Speaking at a post-Cannes press conference, which marked the first of its kind, a defiant Tarantino told journalists that he knew ‘all this politics crap would be brought up’, but stressed: "We all agreed that Fahrenheit 9/11 was the best movie of the competition."

 

He added that when he had presented Moore, on stage, with his accolade, he had whispered in his ear the same sentiment, informing him that he had triumphed because the jury had thought it was the best film they had seen.

Fahrenheit 9/11’s victory makes it the first documentary since Jacques Cousteau's The Silent World, in 1956, to win the top prize.

And it also paves the way for the film to be released in America, having previously been refused a distribution deal by Disney, the parent company of its producer, Miramax.

In light of the win, Moore told the Associated Press news agency that he was hopeful of striking a deal soon, adding that he would not be surprised to have found someone ‘within the next 24 hours’.

Another of the Cannes jury, actress, Kathleen Turner, said of the documentary: "We felt this was more than a documentary."

The event brought to a close a festival that returned the glamour, glitz and quality to Cannes - after what proved to be a disappointing 2003.

Other highlights included an appearance by the cast of Troy, including a rare press conference from Brad Pitt; the screening of Michael Winterbottom’s explicit sex film, Nine Songs, and appearances by the casts of Shrek 2, Shark Tale and The Ladykillers, including Tom Hanks.

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