Fahrenheit 9/11 Wins Palme d'Or

U.S. director Michael Moore displays his Palme d'Or, which he won for his film Fahrenheit 9/11, May 22, 2004. (Photo: Boris Horvat/AFP-Getty Images)

 American filmmaker Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11, won the top prize on May 22, 2004 at the Cannes Film Festival. This is what the world’s press had to say about his win.

New Delhi Hindustan Times (centrist), May 23: The decision by the Cannes film festival jury to give its top prize to Fahrenheit 9/11, created a stir around the world on Sunday. Newspapers everywhere noted the politically charged consequences of the announcement, made on Saturday at a glittering awards ceremony on the French Riviera.

Johannesburg Mail & Guardian (liberal), May 23: Fahrenheit 9/11 was the first documentary to win Cannes’ prestigious Palme d’Or since Jacques Cousteau’s The Silent World in 1956.

Toronto The Globe and Mail (centrist), May 23: Some critics speculated that Fahrenheit 9/11 won the top prize more for the film’s politics than its cinematic value...With Moore’s customary blend of humor and horror, Fahrenheit 9/11 accuses the Bush camp of stealing the 2000 election, overlooking terrorism warnings before September 11 and fanning fears of more attacks to secure Americans support for the Iraq war.

Sydney The Sydney Morning Herald (centrist), May 24: Moore kept insisting that his prime aim had been to make a movie that people would enjoy on a Saturday night out. The jury president, cult film director Quentin Tarantino, insisted the prize was not political.  But the critics disagreed, arguing this was a heartfelt attack on the Bush administration that was designed to stir disillusioned Americans into voting in November. The film certainly packed an emotional punch, switching from shots of American soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners, to a grieving mother reading the last letter she ever received from her soldier son in Iraq. Moore's loathing of Bush is palpable in every shot.  The president is painted as a politically incompetent buffoon.

London The Guardian (liberal), May 23: Moore arrived in Cannes by his traditional mode of transportation – on a wave of controversy. Disney had announced that it would not distribute his new film, Fahrenheit 9/11, in America, which left the film’s producers, Miramax, a division of Disney, looking for a new partner. Moore accused Disney of censoring his film to protect the tax breaks its Disney world complex enjoys in Florida, the state controlled by Jeb Bush, brother of the president.

Buenos Aires Pagina 12 (center-left), May 23: “I dedicate this award to the people of Iraq who have suffered so much because of our actions,” was one of the few comments that Michael Moore – in near wordless astonishment and emotion managed to pronounce. “In my country some people want to maintain the truth hidden in the closet, but with this act by the festival we are going to bring the truth to public light,” asserted Moore…Fahrenheit 9/11 withstood an attempt at censorship – according to the director, by persons close to the president who pressured the producer, Icon Films (headed by Mel Gibson) to take the movie off the market.


Doha (English-language), May 23: “I have this great hope that things are going to change,” the Oscar-winning director, overwhelmed by the standing ovation, said. “I want to make sure, if I do nothing else for this year, that those who have died in Iraq have not died in vain.” Moore’s win capped a politically charged festival, with documentaries and films reflecting troubled times.