"Fahrenheit 9/11" Wins Palme d' Or at 57th Festival de Cannes
by Eugene Hernandez
Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" won the Palme d'Or at the 2004 Festival de Cannes. The documentary, a powerful indictment of the Bush administration, wowed festival-goers here in Cannes this week, drawing a 20-minute standing ovation at its debut screening on Monday. When jury president Quentin Tarantino declared Moore the winner here tonight, the audience erupted into another extended standing ovation as the filmmaker embraced his wife and Miramax chief Harvey Weinstein, who financed the movie. The film remains without distribution in the United States, Moore said after the ceremony, following Disney's decision to stop its Miramax division from releasing the movie in America.
"What have you done," exclaimed Michael Moore as he took the stage to accept his prize. "The last time I was on an awards stage, in Hollywood, all hell broke loose," he added, laughing. Thanking the jury, Moore said, "You will assure that the American people will see this movie."
The second prize, the Grand Prix, was presented to "Old Boy" by Park Chan-wook.
Tony Gatlif was named best director at the festival for his new film "Exils," while the award for best screenplay went to Agnes Jaoui and Jean-Pierre Bacri for "Comme Une Image," which was acquired by Sony Pictures Classics earlier this week.
Keren Yedaya's "Or," from the festival's Critics Week section, won the Camera d'Or, awarded to the best first film at the festival. Special mentions for the prize were presented to Yang Chao's "Lu Cheng" (Passages) from the Un Certain Regard section and Mohsen Amiryoussefi's "Khab e Talkh" from the Director's Fortnight section.
Acting prizes were awarded to Maggie Cheung for best actress, for her role in Olivier Assayas' "Clean," and to Yagira Yuya for his role in Hirokazu Kore-eda's "Nobody Knows."
Jurors awarded two special jury prizes, one for Apichatpong Weerasethakul's "Sud Pralad" (Tropical Malady) and the other to actress Irma P. Hall for her role in Joel Coen and Ethan Coen's "The Ladykillers."
Catalin Mitulescu's "Trafic" won the Palme d'Or for best short film, while Jonas Geirnaert's "Flatlife" won the jury prize for short film.
In the Un Certain Regard section, the Prix Un Certain Regard went to Ousmane Sembene's "Moolaade," while the Prix du Regard Original went to Juan-Pablo Rebella and Pablo Stoll's "Whisky" and Atiq Rahimi's "Khakestar-O-Kak."
In the Cinefondation program, Frederikke Aspock's "Happy Now" won the Premier Prix, while the second prize was shared by Corneliu Pormumboiu's "Calatorie La Oras" (A Trip to the City) and Marja Mikkonen's "99 Vuotta Elamastani" (99 Years of My Life), while the third prize went to Jan Kosama's "Fajnie, Ze Jestes" (Nice to See You).
A technical award went to Eric Gautier, director of photography on two competition films, Olivier Assayas' "Clean" and Walter Salles' "Motorcycle Diaries." Chatting with journalists after the awards ceremony, Michael Moore was asked what Quentin Tarantino told him on-stage. Moore related that jury president Tarantino told him, off mic, "We want you to know that the politics of your film had nothing to do with this award -- you were given this award because you made a great film."
The FIPRESCI film critics awards went to Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" (Selection Officielle), Juan-Pablo Rebella and Pablo Stoll's "Whisky" (Un Certain Regard) and Tawfik Abu Wael's "Atash" (Soif) (Critics Week).
Asked about the status of the deal for U.S. distribution of the movie, Moore said, "All I can say is that Bob and Harvey (Weinstein) are negotiating with Disney right now to buy back the film, it sounds like the negotiations are going quite well, everyone is treating each other with respect and behaving like adults, I am very optimistic that this will be resolved in the coming week." Continuing he added, "I would be shocked if we didn’t have a distributor by tonight."