"Grace of Monaco" opens Cannes to tepid reception, eager fans

"Grace of Monaco" opens Cannes to tepid reception, eager fans

The glamour of Cannes and nearby Monaco are wedded on screen in "Grace of Monaco" that opened the 67th Cannes Film Festival on Wednesday, but while fans cheered Nicole Kidman and other stars on the red carpet, critics saw no marriage made in heaven.

The glitzy 12-day festival on the palm-lined Cote d'Azur is a who's-who of the international film world and its red carpet one of the most watched, with stars ranging from China's Zhang Ziyi to France's Audrey Tautou mounting its famous steps.

Kidman, arriving in an evening blue gown with beaded bodice and sheer lace skirt, said she loved the French festival known both for its artistic variety and Mediterranean atmosphere.

"I had most amazing time shooting, living on the French Riviera and shooting in Monaco," Kidman told journalists after signing autographs for fans waiting since yesterday for a chance to see their favourite stars.

Eighteen films from directors as far away as Mauritania and Japan are in competition for the Palme d'Or, the festival's top prize, to be handed out on May 24 along with other awards.

The kick-off films for the festival tend to be high on style and star power, with "Grace of Monaco" no exception.

The film starring Kidman as American actress Grace Kelly, who married Prince Rainier to become Princess Grace, was made by Olivier Dahan, the French director whose 2007 "La Vie en Rose" about the legendary singer Edith Piaf was a worldwide hit.

But advance press for the film has been overshadowed by a public dispute between Dahan and producer Harvey Weinstein, who owns the American distribution rights, over the final cut that under French law belongs to the director.

It was announced at Cannes that the spat had been resolved.

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