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Last Updated: Monday, 23 January 2006, 08:45 GMT
Da Vinci movie will open Cannes
The Da Vinci Code actor Tom Hanks
Tom Hanks stars in the film of Dan Brown's best-selling book
The Da Vinci Code movie will open this year's Cannes film festival, two days before it is released worldwide.

Based on Dan Brown's thriller, it stars Tom Hanks, Audrey Tautou, Jean Reno, Sir Ian McKellen and Alfred Molina.

About a fictional sinister plot to conceal the true meaning of the Holy Grail, it will open the prestigious French festival on 17 May.

The movie is directed by Ron Howard, who won best picture and director Oscars in 2002 for A Beautiful Mind.

'Insidious lies'

More than 30 million copies of The Da Vinci Code have been sold in about 40 languages.

Despite its reference to historical events and the Roman Catholic Church, the story has been denounced as pure fiction by the church.

Last week Catholic group Opus Dei called for the unrated movie to be given an adult rating, saying children should be protected from what it called "insidious" lies about Catholicism.

Opus Dei spokesman Marc Carroggio said: "Any adult can distinguish reality from fiction. But you cannot expect a child to make proper judgements."

Producers are said to have invested $100m (56m) in the movie, which uses the Louvre Museum in Paris as one of its main backdrops.

The Da Vinci Code will be screened out-of-competition at the 11-day annual festival.

It will be released in France and Japan on the same day as its Cannes screening, and in the UK and US on 19 May.

Happy Together director Won Kar Wai has been named as president of the Cannes festival jury, the first Chinese president in the event's history.


SEE ALSO:
Call for Da Vinci 'adult rating'
20 Jan 06 |  Entertainment
Da Vinci Code video game planned
03 Nov 05 |  Entertainment
Date set for Da Vinci court case
27 Oct 05 |  Entertainment
The Da Vinci Code put 'on trial'
23 Feb 05 |  Entertainment
Church fights Da Vinci Code novel
15 Mar 05 |  Entertainment
What is Opus Dei?
21 Dec 01 |  Europe


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