Michael Moore Wins Palme d’Or

Cannes 2004

CANNES, FRANCE—Wearing its politics on its sleeve, the jury at the 57th Cannes Film Festival bestowed its Palme d’Or on Michael Moore’s anti-Bush polemic Fahrenheit 9/11. Moore, who spoke at length in phonetic French when Bowling for Columbine won an award here in 2002, restricted himself to a single “merci” in crediting the festival with insuring the American people would see his movie. Rare but not unprecedented for a documentary, the Palme was also a triumph for Harvey Weinstein, whose Miramax Films was forbidden to distribute the film by parent company Disney, and whose star director Quentin Tarantino served as jury president.

The second-place Grand Prix went to Korean director Park Chan-wook’s Old Boy, a violent thriller (and known Tarantino favorite). As expected, best screenplay was French writer-director Agnès Jaoui’s character comedy Look at Me (co-written with Jean-Pierre Bacri); more surprisingly, French filmmaker Tony Gatlif received best director for his drama of Romani repatriation, Exiles. Acting awards were given to 14-year-old Yagira Yuuya for his role in Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda’s sentimental drama Nobody Knows and Maggie Cheung for her uncharacteristically one-note performance as a rock ’n’ roll widow in French director Olivier Assayas’s tepid Clean. (For the second consecutive year, Cannes’s leading actress played a heroin addict.) Irma P. Hall received a jury prize for her feisty turn in the Coens' The Ladykillers. "Quentin Tarantino has been talking in her voice for the last 10 days," juror Tilda Swinton noted at the press conference.

Once touted to win, Wong Kar-wai’s apparently unfinished 2046 was shut out, although a second jury prize went to Thai filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul for his offbeat and unpopular Tropical Malady. The Camera d’Or for best first film was awarded to Keren Yedaya’s Or, the story of an Israeli prostitute and her daughter.

 
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