Picks and Pans Review: Cannes Film Festival: Wrap-Up

UPDATED 06/07/2004 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 06/07/2004 at 01:00 AM EDT

The red carpet leading to Cannes's Grand Palais theater has been rolled up for another year, but the debate over the films shown there has only just begun. A few starting points:

Temperature's Rising The nine-person jury, headed by director Quentin Tarantino, sparked controversy when it awarded Cannes's top prize to Fahrenheit 9/11, Michael Moore's scathing attack on President George W. Bush and the Iraq war. Is his documentary art or agitprop? Both—and it deserves to be seen. Particularly damning is footage showing a spooked Bush seemingly waiting to be told what to do—he continues reading to schoolkids—for a full seven minutes after hearing that the second WTC tower had been attacked.

Eastern Influence Asian films dominated, displaying an impressive flowering of subjects and styles. One with commercial promise: China's sumptuous martial arts drama House of Flying Daggers.

Anything Goes Sheryl Crow, Elvis Costello and others crooning Cole Porter tunes were the highlight of De-Lovely, a flaccid look at the songwriter (played by Kevin Kline) that closed the festival.

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