May 14 - The actress promotes her new film Grace of Monaco at the Cannes Film Festival. Rough Cut (no reporter narration)
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ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION)
STORY: With huge yachts bobbing in the Mediterranean and luxury boutiques along the famous La Croisette boulevard making finishing touches to their displays, the 12-day pageant that is the 67th Cannes Film Festival world's answer to Hollywood's Oscars kicks off with the world premiere of "Grace of Monaco" on Wednesday (May 14).
The opening film stars Nicole Kidman as the Hollywood actress Grace Kelly who became the Princess of Monaco when she married Prince Rainier, and died following a car crash in 1982 in the hills of the principality, not far from Cannes.
Kidman and other stars will ascend the famous red carpet on Wednesday night to the cinema inside the Palais des Festivals et des Congres for the glittering opening event under the watchful eye of the world's media, which has staked out viewing spots and parked stepladders for photographers days in advance.
Speaking at an earlier news conference, Kidman responded to criticism from the Monaco royal family, who labeled the film a "farce" that bore no relation to reality.
"Obviously I feel sad because I think that the film has no malice towards the family or particularly towards Grace or Rainier. It's fictionalized obviously. We've said that. It's not a biopic. There's the essence of truth but as with a lot of these things, you take dramatic license at times," Kidman said.
Trade talk of a dispute between the film's French director, Olivier Dahan, and its American distributor, producer Harvey Weinstein, has only served to reinforce the reputation of Cannes for producing a scandal or two.
Nevertheless, Albert, monarch of the tiny Mediterranean principality, and his sisters Princess Caroline and Princess Stephanie said "Grace of Monaco" was based on "erroneous and dubious historical references".
And any hope that the controversy surrounding the movie would boost audiences' interest may have been snuffed out by the critical mauling the movie has received in early reviews.
"It is a film so awe-inspiringly wooden that it is basically a fire-risk," wrote The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw, adding that the Cannes opener was "a 104-minute Chanel ad, only without the subtlety and depth".
Robbie Collin from The Daily Telegraph called it "a fantastically silly melodrama that speculates on the role played by Grace Kelly", while Scott Foundas from Variety called the script "agonizingly airless and contrived".
Soon before the film's stars were presented to the media, opinion on the film was mixed following a preview screening, though most agreed it was a poor choice to open such a prestigious film festival.
"Grace of Monaco" debuts in Cannes out of competition, with 18 films vying for the Palme d'Or, which will be handed out along with other prizes at the end of the festival on May 24.
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