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Fahrenheit 9/11 Wins Top Cannes Film Award - 2004-05-23


A U.S. film fiercely critical of President Bush has won the top prize at the Cannes Film Festival in France.

The Oscar-winning director Michael Moore was given the prestigious Palme d'Or (Golden Palm) award on Saturday for his film "Fahrenheit 9/11." In his acceptance speech, Mr. Moore said he hopes the award will will pave the way for Americans to be able to see the movie.

Disney has refused to let its subsidiary, Miramax, release the film in the United States, citing its politically polarizing content. Miramax executives are negotiating with Disney to buy back distribution rights in time for a summer release in the United States.

Mr. Moore's documentary focuses on the Bush administration, particularly the disputed 2000 presidential election, the terrorist attacks of September 11th (2001), and the war in Iraq. Mr. Moore, after receiving the Cannes award, said he hopes U.S. voters will see the film and turn away from Mr. Bush in the November presidential election.

A White House spokesman told the French news agency there would be no official reaction, other than to note America is a free country and everyone has the right to free speech.

The Cannes Film Festival, one of moviemaking's most acclaimed events, was started by the French government in 1946. The annual event, sponsored by the French Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of Culture, is widely considered the most prestigious film screening in the world. "Fahrenheit 9/11" was chosen over 18 other entries for the top prize.

Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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