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The jury is in, and Michael Moore's controversial documentary Fahrenheit 9/11 has taken the top prize at the 57th annual Cannes Film Festival, widely considered to be the most prestigious festival in the world. This is the first time a documentary has been awarded the much-coveted Palme d'Or since Jacques Cousteau's The Silent World in 1956. Naysayers will brush off the film's victory because of the festival takes place in France, but jury president Quentin Tarantino (in a first-time post-awards press conference w/the jury) brushed off the politics. "I knew all this politics crap would be brought up," said the Kill Bill writer/director, whose Pulp Fiction took home the Palme d'Or ten years ago. "We all agreed that Fahrenheit 9/11 was the best movie of the competition."

Moore's film, which was produced by Bob & Harvey Weinstein for Miramax, garnered attention just before the Cannes festival when it was announced that Miramax's parent company, Disney, was refusing to distribute the film in North America (despite the fact that they bankrolled its production). This past week, the film received a widely-reported 20 minute standing ovation after its first major screening, creating buzz that Fahrenheit 9/11 might take home an award. Moore was back in the U.S. 24 hours before the closing ceremonies to see his 22 year-old daughter receive her masters degree, when he was called back to Cannes w/no promises made.

While the film was likely to find American distribution anyway, the Palme d'Or should help the film receive more attention from audiences & media, not to mention a more lucrative deal from distributors. Moore thanked the jury in his acceptance speech for putting the "spotlight" on a film that people were trying to hide. Supposedly, Moore would like to see the film open in theaters over the July 4th holiday weekend. [Google news links]

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