The following is an excerpt from this New York Times article, which was published yesterday.
'Fahrenheit 9/11' Wins Top Prize at Cannes
By A. O. SCOTT
CANNES, France, May 22 - At the awards ceremony that wrapped up the 57th Cannes Film Festival on Saturday night, the jury gave "Fahrenheit 9/11," Michael Moore's stinging critique of the Bush administration's foreign policies, the Palme d'Or, the festival's top prize and one of the most coveted honors in international cinema.
The announcement, made by jury president Quentin Tarantino, met with enthusiastic cheers from the audience in the Grand Théâtre Lumière, where Mr. Moore's film had received what many thought was the longest standing ovation ever at Cannes when it was screened here last Monday. "What have you done?" Mr. Moore asked Mr. Tarantino as he accepted the prize, looking both overwhelmed and amused. "You just did this to mess with me, didn't you?"
It was a night of many surprises: a 14-year-old boy won the award for best actor; the first Thai film ever placed in competition shared a jury prize with an American actress; and all three French films in competition were given awards.
But Mr. Moore's victory outdid all of them. For one thing, Cannes is notoriously indifferent to documentaries. "Fahrenheit 9/11" was one of only three nonfiction films allowed in competition in nearly 50 years.
The meaning of Mr. Moore's Palme, however, extends far beyond the cozy, glamorous world of Cannes. "Last time I was on an awards stage in Hollywood, all hell broke loose," Mr. Moore said in his acceptance speech, referring to his antiwar remarks at the Oscars last year. His new film, which does not yet have an American distributor, has already begun to stir passions in the United States, as the election approaches and the debate over the conduct of the war in Iraq grows more intense.
With his characteristic blend of humor and outrage - and with greater filmmaking discipline and depth of feeling than he has shown in his previous work - Mr. Moore attacks Mr. Bush's response to Sept. 11, his decision to invade Iraq, and nearly everything else the president has done.
"I did not set out to make a political film," Mr. Moore said at a news conference after the ceremony. "I want people to leave thinking that was a good way to spend two hours. The art of this, the cinema, comes before the politics."
He also said that Mr. Tarantino had assured him that the political message of "Fahrenheit 9/11" did not influence the jury's decision. "On this jury we have different politics," he quoted Mr. Tarantino as saying. It is also a film financed by Miramax, which distributes Mr. Tarantino's movies.
Mr. Moore noted that four of the nine jurors were American: Mr. Tarantino, Kathleen Turner, the director Jerry Schatzberg, and the Haitian-born novelist Edwidge Danticat. "I fully expect the Fox News Channel and other right-wing media to portray this as an award from the French," Mr. Moore said. Only one juror, the actress Emanuelle Béart, is a French citizen.
"If you want to add Tilda," he said referring to the British actress Tilda Swinton, "then you could say that more than half came from the coalition of the willing." (The rest of the panel was made up of Benoit Poelvoode, a Belgian actor; Peter von Bagh, a Finnish critic; and the Hong Kong director Tsui Hark.)