February 21, 2020
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Le Heretique

Le Heretique
There was the predictable eruption of ecstasy and agony when Michael Moore got the Palme d'Or for his Fahrenheit 9/11. The glittering crystal and gold sculpture is filmdom's only award that rivals the Oscars. In some books it does better. But the hurrahs and groans in the Palais' vast Salle Lumiere are only the lesser part of several consequences. For instance, 9/11 may now be a factor in the approaching US presidential elections. It's only the second non-fiction film, after one by Louis Malle in 1956, to top the rest in Cannes. This jury decision redeemed some inexplicable and cat-called ones. They had rewarded films of gratuitous violence (the Grand Prix to Park Chan-Wook's Old Boy), or bland sleepers people walked out of (Apichatpong Weerasethakul's Tropical Malady), or toyed with the number and category of awards (a Jury Prize for an actor, not the film, in the brothers Coen's The Lady Killers with Tom Hanks)...there is much Quentin Tarantino and his eight jurors must atone for.

But then they crowned Michael Moore. Somewhere during the making of 9/11, it began to aim at the heart of Bush's re-election campaign. In the view of Americans and others alike in Cannes, the film is speeding towards the bull's eye. Journalists Woodward and Bernstein, who brought down Richard Nixon, take guard! Moore is Bowling for Columbine (the film that last brought him to Cannes).

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