published Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

Cannes to kick off with Kidman, 'Grace of Monaco'

  • photo
    Two birds fly near a palm tree at the Miramar Hotel on the Croisette prior to the opening of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France. The Festival will run from today through May 21.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

By JAKE COYLE

AP Film Writer

CANNES, France — The 67th annual Cannes Film Festival is kicking off with a dose of classic French Riviera glamour.

The Grace Kelly biopic "Grace of Monaco," starring Nicole Kidman, opens the festival Wednesday. Kidman plays the movie star during her marriage to Prince Rainier III of Monaco, just an hour's drive from Cannes.

The film premieres amid high-profile disputes. Director Olivier Dahan has feuded over the final cut with the Weinstein Co., which is distributing the film in North America. Dahan's version will screen at Cannes.

Princess Stephanie of Monaco has criticized the film about her parents as inaccurate.

The festival jury, which decides the prestigious Palme d'Or award, is headed this year by Jane Champion, the only female filmmaker to win the Palme d'Or (for "The Piano" in 1993).

The Cannes Film Festival is the world's largest and most starry film festival, as well as the top movie marketplace where countless films are bought and sold. While it encompasses a broad range of movie premieres, wheeling and dealing and celebrity gatherings, the world's attention is focused on the 18 films in competition for the Palme d'Or.

Last year, it went to the erotic French coming-of-age tale "Blue Is the Warmest Color." In a first, Steven Spielberg's jury awarded the Palme not just to the director, Abdellatif Kechiche, but also to its two stars, Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux.

This year brings a selection somewhat light on Hollywood, but heavy on world-class auteurs, including Jean-Luc Godard, Ken Loach, the Dardenne brothers, Mike Leigh and Michel Hazanavicius, returning to where his "The Artist" became a sensation.

Two films come from Americans: the Olympic wrestler drama "Foxcatcher," by Bennett Miller ("Capote"), starring Channing Tatum and Steve Carell; and the western "The Homesman," the second directing effort from Tommy Lee Jones.

Canadian filmmakers outnumber their North American neighbors: David Cronenberg's "Maps to the Stars," Atom Egoyan's "The Captives" and Xavier Dolan's "Mommy."

Films in competition will bring a bevy of A-listers, including both former "Twilight" co-stars Robert Pattinson (in "Maps to the Stars") and Kristen Stewart (in Olivier Assayas' "Clouds of Sils Maria"). Ryan Gosling will also present his directorial debut, "Lost River," in the Un Certain Regard section.

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