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Last Updated: Monday, 24 May, 2004, 15:04 GMT 16:04 UK
Anti-Bush film tops Cannes awards
Michael Moore
Moore wants Americans to see the film before the presidential election
Director Michael Moore's controversial anti-Bush documentary Fahrenheit 9/11 has won the prestigious Palme d'Or best film award at the Cannes festival.

It was the first documentary to win the top prize since Jacques Cousteau's The Silent World in 1956.

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

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

I want to make sure if I do nothing else for the rest of this year that those who died in Iraq have not died in vain
Michael Moore

The documentary uses Moore's customary satirical style to accuse Mr Bush of stealing the presidential election in 2000, ignoring terrorism warnings before 11 September 2001 and fuelling fears of more attacks to secure Americans' support for the war in Iraq.

"What have you done? I'm completely overwhelmed by this," Moore said in his acceptance speech.

"I want to make sure if I do nothing else for the rest of this year that those who died in Iraq have not died in vain."

Thanking the jury headed by cult director Quentin Tarantino, he added: "You will ensure that the American people will see this movie...You have put a huge light on this."


Michael Moore's film 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 isn't a movie, it's a long commercial
Michael, Chicago, USA

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."

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 was competing against 18 other films for the Palme d'Or.

The BBC's Lainy Malkani
"It is the first documentary in 50 years to win the Palme d'Or"

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