CANNES, France, May 14 (Xinhua) -- The 67th Festival de Cannes, or the Cannes Film Festival, opened Wednesday evening in the southern French sea resort of Cannes.
The opening ceremony was held at the Palace of the Festival, following the red carpet show of big shots in the film industry in the afternoon.
This year's event began with the screening of French director Olivier Dahan's film Grace de Monaco, or Grace of Monaco.
Dahan is making a debut at the Festival de Cannes with the screening of Grace of Monaco, the opening film, which is a homage to Grace Kelly, the queen of Hollywood who was crowned Princess of Monaco in 1956.
"Under Dahan's direction Nicole Kidman elegantly brings to life this unshakeable icon of Hollywood royalty," said the official daily of the festival.
During a press conference earlier on Wednesday, the director said "I wanted to make a film about cinema - it's all about an actress. It's not a biopic, even if it's all true."
Hours before the opening ceremony, hundreds of photographers and cameramen from media units across the world, as well as fans speaking different languages, gathered outside the main entrance to the red carpet show.
The team of Grace of Monaco, including director Olivier Dahan, actress Nicole Kidman, actor Tim Roth, as well as the jury members for the main competition section, attended the opening ceremony.
This edition of the Cannes Film Festival, a worldwide leading film gathering, runs from May 14 to 25 with 18 films competing for the Palme d'Or, the top prize of the annual event.
The jury is headed by New Zealand artist Jane Campion, the only female director to have won the prestigious Palme d'Or.
"It is this worldwide inclusiveness and passion for film at the heart of the festival which makes the importance of the Festival de Cannes indisputable," said Campion.
"It is a mythical and exciting festival where amazing things can happen, actors are discovered, films are financed, careers are made," said Campion, adding "I know this because that is what happened to me!"
During a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, Campion said "We have a great responsibility resting on our shoulders."
"I always find it fascinating to try and understand a director's vision of the world. For all of us, film is our passion and this is what's going to be dictating how we react," she said.
Chinese director, screenwriter and producer Jia Zhangke is also a member of the nine-member jury.
Jia told the press conference that "Being part of the Festival de Cannes, it's like being in the mood for love, like falling in love every day. We'll be watching the films with open minds."
Renowned French director Jean-Luc Godard will return to Cannes with the film "Goodbye language" (Adieu au langage).
Godard, 83, is one of the representatives of the new wave films. His film has a strong shot of political and experimental aspects, and has been a regular nominee at the Cannes Film Festival. In 2010, his film "Film Socialisme" was nominated for the "Un Certain Regard" unit.
This year's festival also welcomes some regular finalists: British director Ken Loach's new film "Jimmy's hall", Canadian director Atom Egoyan's "Captives", Canadian director David Cronenberg's the "Maps to the stars" and so on.
Chinese director Zhang Yimou's new film "Coming Home" was selected for non-competition screenings. Another Chinese director Wang Chao's new film "Fantasia" entered the "Un Certain Regard" unit.
Japanese director Naomi Kawase and Italian director Alice Rohrwacher are the two female finalist directors, with films "Deux Fenetres" and "La Merveille" respectively.