Cannes Fest: Palestinian Film Wins Jury Prize

Published May 27th, 2002 - 02:00 GMT

Franco-Polish director Roman Polanski won Sunday the Cannes film festival’s coveted Palme d'Or (Golden Palm) award for The Pianist, while Palestinian Elia Suleiman won the Jury Prize, a mark of special recognition, for Divine Intervention, to be the first Palestinian winner and third Arab winner in the history of the world’s most famous film festival. 

It was the first time Polanski, director of such classics as Chinatown, Repulsion and Rosemary's Baby, had taken the top prize at the festival. 

Jury president David Lynch and his eight-member team, which included Basic Instinct star Sharon Stone and former Bond girl Michelle Yeoh, faced a tough task.  

"There are not enough prizes available to reflect all our desires, yet we as a jury feel very good with our final choices," Lynch said at the closing ceremony before the awards were announced.  

The Man Without a Past by Finnish director Aki Kaurismaki was the only film to win more than one prize.  

Kati Outinen took the award for best actress for her performance in the movie, as a Salvation Army officer who falls in love with a man who has lost his memory.  

The award for best actor went to Belgium's Olivier Gourmet, who starred as a carpenter forced into an awkward relationship with an adolescent who murdered his son in Le Fils (The Son).  

The winning actors, virtually unknown outside their home countries, beat heavyweight contenders including Jack Nicholson, Ralph Fiennes, Miranda Richardson and Emily Watson.  

South Korean director Im Kwon-Taek and US director Paul Thomas Anderson shared the award for best director for their films, Chihwaseon and Punch-Drunk Love, respectively.  

Critics' favourite The Man Without a Past won the Grand Prize, a runner-up to the Palme d'Or. The eccentric Kaurismaki, greeted with a wild ovation, was typically succinct in his acceptance speech.  

It was a disappointing night for the British, who had three films in competition this year after staying away in 2001. Ken Loach's Sweet Sixteen won the only British award of the night, for best screenplay.  

American director Michael Moore was handed a specially created award, the 55th Anniversary Prize, for Bowling for Columbine, the first documentary to show at the festival in 46 years – Albawaba.com 

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