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Sunday, 26 May, 2002, 22:21 GMT 23:21 UK
Polanski beats Brits at Cannes
Scottish scriptwriter Paul Laverty won best screenplay for Sweet Sixteen
Paul Laverty takes the applause at Cannes
Roman Polanski's The Pianist has won the prestigious Palme d'Or award at the Cannes Film Festival.

The British had one winner, Paul Laverty for his screenplay in Ken Loach's film Sweet Sixteen, but lost out in the film and acting categories.

The Pianist beat 21 other films vying for the Palme d'Or, including movies by Mike Leigh, Michael Winterbottom and Loach.
Roman Polanski holding the Palme d'Or
Polanski took the top prize

Polanski's film is about the Holocaust and stars Adrien Brody as a brilliant Polish pianist who escapes the Warsaw ghetto.

It was interpreted as a very personal film by Polanski, 68, himself a Jew who survived the Krakow ghetto but lost his mother at a Nazi camp.

"I am honored and touched to receive this prestigious prize for a film that represents Poland," Polanski told the closing ceremony in Cannes.

The Grand Prix, which usually rewards originality and research, went to The Man Without a Past by Finnish director Aki Kaurismaki, which is about an amnesia victim in the slums of Helsinki.

Brits Miranda Richardson, Ralph Fiennes and teenage star Martin Compston failed to win individual accolades.
Roman Polanski
Born in Paris in 1933
Moved to Poland in 1936
Survived Krakow ghetto but mother died at Auschwitz
Fled the US and moved to Paris in 1978
Became a member of the prestigious Academie des Beaux Arts in 1999.
Films include Chinatown, Frantic, Rosemary's Baby and Tess

Finland's Kati Outinen won the award for best actress for her performance as a Salvation Army officer in The Man Without a Past.

Belgium's Olivier Gourmet took the male honour for his role in Le Fils (The Son).

American satirist Michael Moore won a special prize for his scathing documentary about gun culture in the States, Bowling for Columbine.

Ken Loach's Sweet Sixteen had been widely tipped to win the top prize - it made a new star out of young Scottish footballer Martin Compston, 16.


  • Palme d'Or, or Golden Palm for Best Film: The Pianist by Roman Polanski (France)

  • Grand Prix: The Man Without a Past by Aki Kaurismaki (Finland)

  • Jury Prize: Divine Intervention by Palestinian director Elia Suleiman

  • Best Actor: Olivier Gourmet, in Le Fils (The Son, Belgium)

  • Best Actress: Kati Outinen, in The Man Without a Past (Finland)

  • Best Director: Im Kwon-Taek (South Korea) for Chihwaseon, and Paul Thomas Anderson (US) for Punch-Drunk Love

  • Best Screenplay: Sweet Sixteen, written by Paul Laverty (Britain)

  • Prize for Cannes' 55th year: Bowling for Columbine by Michael Moore (US)

  • Camera d'Or, or Golden Camera for Best First Film: Bord de Mer by Julia Lopes-Cural (France)

  • Palme d'Or for Best Short Film: Eso Utan by Peter Meszaros (Hungary)

Mike Leigh's south London drama All or Nothing and Michael Winterbottom's 24 Hour Party People, about the 1970s Manchester music scene, were outsiders.

Miranda Richardson was nominated for Best Actress for her role in David Cronenberg's thriller Spider.

Her co-star Ralph Fiennes was nominated as Best Actor, along with Compston and Jack Nicholson, who plays a retired insurance man in About Schmidt.

The headlining film at Sunday's ceremony was And Now...Ladies and Gentlemen, by French director Claude Lelouch, which stars British actor Jeremy Irons.
The judges
David Lynch, director
Sharon Stone, actress
Michelle Yeoh, actress
Régis Wargnier, director
Claude Miller, director
Bille August, director
Christine Hakim, actress
Walter Salles, director
Raoul Ruiz, director

The jury was headed by American director David Lynch and included actress Sharon Stone.

As well as one final party, the closing of the festival also signalled the end of 11 days of furious networking and meetings among producers and distributors.

But the French Riviera extravaganza is better known for its glamour, and this festival was no exception.

It was graced by Hollywood stars such as Leonardo di Caprio, Cameron Diaz, Elizabeth Taylor and Woody Allen.

The BBC's Sean Brickell
"It was a disappointing night for the British"

Latest news

Woody Allen's debut

Behind the scenes

See also:

24 May 02 | Entertainment
26 May 02 | Entertainment
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