9/11 wins tops Cannes prize - 23rd May 2004
The Sydney Morning Herald)
Cannes: US filmmaker Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11,
a scathing indictment of White House actions after
the September 11 attacks, won the top prize today
at the Cannes Film Festival.
9/11 was the first documentary to win Cannes' prestigious
Palme d'Or since Jacques Cousteau's The Silent World
have you done? I'm completely overwhelmed by this.
Merci," Moore said after getting a standing ovation
from the Cannes crowd.
grand prize, the festival's second-place honour, went
to South Korean filmmaker Park Chan-wook's Old Boy,
a blood-soaked thriller about a man out for revenge
after years of inexplicable imprisonment.
was momentarily flabbergasted when he took the stage,
a big difference from his fiery speech against US
President George W. Bush when he won the best-documentary
Academy Award for 2002's Bowling for Columbine.
have to understand, the last time I was on an awards
stage, in Hollywood, all hell broke loose," Moore
best-actress award went to China's Maggie Cheung for
her role in Clean as a junkie trying to straighten
out her life and regain custody of her young son after
her rock star boyfriend dies of a drug overdose.
Yagira Yuuya was named best actor for the Japanese
film Nobody Knows, in which he plays the eldest of
four siblings raised in isolation, who must take charge
of the family when their mother leaves.
directing and writing prizes went to French filmmakers.
Tony Gatlif won the directing honor for Exiles, his
road-trip movie about a couple on a sensual journey
from France to Algeria.
Jaoui and her romantic partner, Jean-Pierre Bacri,
won the screenplay award for Look at Me, their study
in self-image centering on an overweight young woman
who feels neglected by loved ones. Jaoui and Bacri
9/11 took the prestigious Palme d'Or amid sharply
divided Cannes moviegoers, who found a solid crop
of good movies among the 19 entries in the festival's
main competition but no great ones that rose to frontrunner
Fahrenheit 9/11 was well-received by Cannes audiences,
many critics felt it was inferior to Bowling for Columbine,
which earned Moore a special prize at Cannes in 2002.
Some critics had speculated that if Fahrenheit 9/11
won the top prize, it would be more for the film's
politics than its cinematic value.
Moore's customary blend of humour and horror, Fahrenheit
9/11 accuses the Bush camp of stealing the 2000 election,
overlooking terrorism warnings before September 11
and fanning fears of more attacks to secure Americans'
support for the Iraq war.
appears on-screen far less in Fahrenheit 9/11 than
in Bowling for Columbine or his other documentaries.
The film relies largely on interviews, footage of
US soldiers and war victims in Iraq, and archival
footage of Bush.
back in Cannes after his daughter's college graduation
in the United States, Moore dedicated the award to
"my daughter and to all the children in America
and Iraq and throughout the world who suffered through
9/11 made waves in the weeks leading up to Cannes
after the Walt Disney Co refused to let sibsidiary
Miramax release the film in the United States because
of its political content. Miramax bosses Harvey and
Bob Weinstein are negotiating to buy back the film
and find another distributor, with hopes of landing
it in theatres by Fourth of July weekend.
Tarantino headed the nine-member jury that handed
out prizes in Cannes' main competition. Other jurors
included actresses Kathleen Turner, Tilda Swinton
and Emmanuelle Beart.
director Apichatpong Weerasethakul's Tropical Malady
- widely regarded by Cannes audiences as a snoozer
for its elongated scenes of a man wandering a jungle
alone, with no dialogue - won the festival's third-place
jury prize went to Irma P. Hall for her role as an
elderly Southern woman who foils a casino robbery,
in the Coen brothers' crime comedy The Ladykillers,
starring Tom Hanks as the heist's ringleader.
Yedaya's Or, about a Tel Aviv prostitute in failing
health and her teenage daughter, won the Golden Camera
award for best film by a first-time director. The
US-born Yedaya, who grew up in Israel, conducts lectures
about the problems of prostitution for government
officials and mental health professionals.
today, Senegalese filmmaker Ousmane Sembene's Moolaade,
an examination of the ritual of female circumcision
that earned rave reviews, won the top prize in a secondary
Cannes competition called Un Certain Regard.
12-day festival's closing film De-Lovely, Kevin Kline's
musical biography of Cole Porter - screened immediately
after the awards tonight. Kline and co-star Ashley
Judd were then hosts at a concert party on the beach,
introducing Sheryl Crow, Alanis Morissette, Natalie
Cole and other singers from De-Lovely as they performed
was to wrap up tomorrow with encore screenings of
award winners and other key movies that played the
festival, including a combined, four-hour version
of both of Tarantino's Kill Bill installments.
Moore official website
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