The Cannes Film Festival Palme d'or or Golden Palme was presented by Charlize Theron, May 23 .It was Michael Moore’s night who took home the best film prize for 'Fahrenheit 911',"the temperature in which freedom burns". The audience applauded for 20 minutes in a standing ovation.
Moore’s film has interviews, news clips and free lance journalism, which reports the news that doesn't get reported by major networks about the Bush administration handling of 9/11 and aftermath, and the
US relationship to the Bin Laden family. The film takes a stance against major US news bureaus for their slanted reports of events in Iraq. In this instance, the documentary brings home the news that otherwise has not been reported. The Cannes jury found the cinematic style, a vital factor for honoring the film.
'Fahrenheit 911' is now virtually guaranteed to be seen in the US and Miramax is trying to buy the distribution rights back from Disney. Additional scenes added of relevance will more than likely be added before the film release in the beginning of July. There are efforts being made however to suppress the film until after the November election—and it is called a negative election ad.
To dismiss the Cannes award as a purely political move on the part of the jury -- is to dismiss the entire jury as incompetent. Cannes Jury President Quentin Tarantino told Moore that he won the film on its merits and Moore said that "meant the most to him". According to jury member Tsui Hark 'its the film's humanism that makes us cry". Tarantino emphasized the film was 'judged as a piece of cinema'.
Ashley Judd and Kevin Kline presented the Grand prize to the South Korean film "Old Boy," the violent story of a man imprisoned for 15 years without any reason who later seeks revenge from his abductors.
The film missed being the Golden Palme winner by two votes.
Irma P. Hall won the third jury prize for a role that was refurbished for her in the Coen brothers’ remake of 'Lady Killers'. Jury member Kathleen Turner said she was disappointed that there were not more strong women performances among the films this year and Tilda Swinton said that the role deserved a ‘Forces of Nature Prize’.
Tied with Irma P Hall award, and despite criticism of sequences of his film, Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul's won the third jury prize for "Tropical Malady", a poetic film - and them first Thai film in a Cannes official selection.
Tony Gatlif won the director's award for "Exiles", a film about a young French couple that returns to the land of their parents in Algeria.
The 57th Cannes event was truly a platform for political commentary from the French entertainment workers who have had unemployment benefits cut by the government and were given space at the festival to air their grievances, to winners who asked US votes to not vote for Bush, and for peace between Palestine and Israel. It was quite clear that this Cannes was about the political issues, behind the movie sets, and in the cinematic medium.
For Movie Magazine, This is Moira Sullivan, Stockholm
© 2004 - Moira Sullivan - Air Date: 5/04
57th Cannes Film Festival, Part 3