2002 Cannes Film Festival Awards

Despite mixed reviews, the Palme d'Or at this year's Cannes Film Festival has gone to Roman Polanski's The Pianist, a deeply personal story heavily drawn from his own experiences of growing up as a Jew in wartime Poland.

The other major awards are:

Best Director - shared by Im Kwon-Taek (Chihwaseon) and Paul Thomas Anderson (Punch-Drunk Love)

Best Actress - Kati Outinen in Aki Kaurismäki's The Man Without A Past

Best Actor - Olivier Gourmet for The Son

Best Screenplay - Paul Laverty for Ken Loach's Sweet Sixteen

Jury Prize - Elia Suleiman's Divine Intervention

Grand Prix - Aki Kaurismäki's The Man Without A Past

Special 55th Anniversary Prize - Michael Moore for Bowling for Columbine (the first documentary ever selected for the main competition).

I was particularly pleased to see the Kaurismäki do so well - if for no other reason than it makes it much more likely that it will get a DVD release. Along with his idol Robert Bresson, he's the most glaring omission from the worldwide DVD catalogue!

Films that went away empty-handed include Mike Leigh's All Or Nothing (reputedly his best since Secrets and Lies), David Cronenberg's psychological thriller Spider and Gaspar Noé's Irreversible, which fuses the reverse-narrative gimmick of Memento (and Harold Pinter's Betrayal) with a nine-minute rape scene that led to a record number of walkouts. Given the problems Noé's debut feature Seul contre tous had with the BBFC, it will be interesting to chart the progress of this one!

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