Cannes jury explains verdicts

CANNES — Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11″ won the Palme d’Or “not for its politics but for its merits as a motion picture,” jury fest prexy Quentin Tarantino said Sunday at a press confab.

The Cannes Film Festival this year inaugurated a next-day post-mortem in which the jury members could meet the press to discuss their choices. Most of the 70-minute session was devoted to Moore’s film, with all nine expressing admiration for the pic.

Tilda Swinton said the jury thought about giving “a special award for best comic performance to George W. Bush. Seriously, we did.”

Tarantino said he told the others that he didn’t want them affected by any outside considerations, such as difficulties with budget. “And we all agreed that ‘Fahrenheit 9/11′ was the best movie.”

He admitted, however, that “it was a very close race” between the docu and Park Chan-wook’s South Korean film “Old Boy.”

After a Hong Kong woman asked about jurors’ reactions to “2046,” followed by a South American asking about “The Motorcycle Diaries,” Kathleen Turner said that they couldn’t address each film, sighing in that signature throaty deadpan, “We don’t have the time, honey.”

Tarantino, who predictably dominated the press conference, said the jury was split on Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s “Tropical Malady,” but those who championed the Thai film “were so articulate in their passion that even those who didn’t love it loved giving it an award.”

The confab was mostly in English, with only Emmanuelle Beart and Benoit Poelvoorde speaking French. Latter actor said there was a long discussion about giving the actor award to the 12-year-old Yuya Yagira (“Nobody Knows”), but they decided “age is not a factor. What’s important is the truth of the performance.”

Other jurors participating included Edwige Danticat, Tsui Hark, Jerry Schatzberg and Peter Von Bagh.

Tarantino said the nine got together every two or three days for four to five hour discussions “and we talked until we were done talking.” Every film had its champions “except for two cases,” he laughed, without naming the films.

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