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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 May, 2004, 13:17 GMT 14:17 UK
Moore film 'favourite for prize'
Moore's film received a standing ovation at Cannes
Director Michael Moore has been tipped by critics as one of the favourites to win the top prize - the Palme d'Or - at the Cannes Film Festival.

Trade paper Screen International ranked Moore's documentary Fahrenheit 9/11 as a leading contender, based on the views of critics from around the world.

The controversial film received a 15-minute standing ovation when it was screened at the festival on Monday.

The last documentary to win the Palme d'Or was The World Of Silence in 1956.

Fahrenheit 9/11 explores the Iraq war and alleges connections between President Bush and prominent Saudi families, including the Bin Ladens.

Positive

It was originally set to be released in the US through Disney subsidiary Miramax, before Disney blocked it. It is now expected to be released through a third party.

"This film will be seen in the United States before the election - have no fear of that," Moore told reporters in Cannes.

The critical reaction to the film has generally been positive, with praise coming from The Washington Post, Time Magazine and British newspapers including the Independent and the Telegraph.

However, others have been more critical of the film. The Hollywood Reporter said Moore was "pioneering a reality film as an election device."

Incendiary

And trade paper Variety described it as "rather less incendiary than expected" and said it was "a blatant cinematic 2004 campaign pamphlet".

Fahrenheit 9/11 is competing against 18 other films for the Palme d'Or.

Other strong contenders, according to Screen International, include Look At Me, the latest film from French director Anges Jaoui.

The winner of the award will be announced on Sunday, the last day of the festival.




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