The film director Michael Moore's new movie 'Fahrenheit 9/11' has taken the top prize at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival.

Already an Oscar winner for his earlier work, 'Bowling for Columbine' which also won a Cannes award, Moore's success means he is the first documentary maker to win a Palme d'Or since 1956.

The film is a critical look at the Bush presidency, and in particular its response to the World Trade Centre attack.

'Le Monde du Silence (The Silent World)', by Louis Malle and Jacques-Yves Cousteau, was the sole previous documentary winner of the Palme d'Or, in 1956.

Speaking after the awards ceremony, Michael Moore thanked the jury for improving the chance of the film being released in America, and dedicated the honour to US troops in Iraq.

'Fahrenheit 9/11' attracted publicity before the festival when Disney, the parent company of Miramax which produced it, said it did not want to distribute it in the USA in an election year.