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Fahrenheit 9/11 - Wins Palme d'Or

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 it.

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 elections.

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 9/11.

It went on to accuse him of 'pioneering a reality film as an election device'.

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 Palme d'Or.

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.

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