The big news for many over the past weekend was Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 911” being awarded the Golden Palm as best film at the Cannes Film Festival – the same movie, you’ll recall, that Disney does not want to distribute, despite the White House press statement issued in response to the award maintaining that it demonstrated that the US was a country of freedom of expression. (For others, with perhaps a more myopic view of the world, the big news was that President Bush fell off of his mountain bike. But we’ll be getting to that incident, too.) With his victory, Moore became the first documentary-maker since Jacques Cousteau in 1956 to win the Festival’s top prize, and at the same time he scored some big political points against the his arch-nemesis, the Bush administration.
As you would expect, the French press just lapped this all up. Surprisingly, though, the vehemence of the French fourth estate’s reaction seemed to vary inversely with the degree of the paper-in-question’s known partisan slant. (more…)