The 57th Cannes Film Festival ended last night with the most popular Palme d'Or in years awarded to the American filmmaker Michael Moore for his anti-Bush documentary Farenheit 9/11. The film was the most highly awaited at the festival and lived up to expectation with its footage of disgruntled US soldiers in Iraq and its powerful argument that the Iraq war was motivated by American big-business interests.
The jury, headed by Quentin Tarantino, with Kathleen Turner, Tilda Swinton and the Hong Kong director Tsui Hark, announced the awards at the closing ceremony last night. "You just did this to mess with me, didn't you?" joked Moore, visibly moved and for once speechless, after a standing ovation.
"It's been a rough few weeks," said Moore, "because we lost our American distributor. But I'm happy to announce we now have a distributor in Albania. So you can now see this film in every country in the world except one." Moore dedicated the prize to his daughter "and to all the children in the world and in Iraq who suffered as a result of our actions. I'm confident things are going to change, I'm not alone - there are millions of Americans like me. I want to make sure that all those who died in Iraq did not die in vain."
It was not the evening's only political note. The tone was set by the Belgian director Jonas Geimaert, who won the best short film award for his animation Flatlife. Geimaert called for Cannes to be "more like a film festival and less like a business festival", and then added, "Please don't vote Bush."
The Camera d'Or prize for best first or second film was won by the Israeli director Keren Yedaya for her film Or about a mother and daughter's experience of prostitution. Yedaya dedicated her film to "all the people in the world who are not free and who live in a world of slavery. Israel is now responsible for the condition of slavery of more than three million Palestinians."