Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Films with Philly ties in spotlight at Cannes; one draws jeers

As the Cannes Film Festival kicks off today, two noteworthy flicks with strong connections to Philadelphia are among those being screened as part of the competition for the famed Palme d’Or prize.

Although the film "Winter Sleep" by a Turkish director appears to be favored before most movies have yet to be screened, the two with local connections are at least getting talked about – if not always in the best way.

Perhaps the most talked-about film of the 67th Cannes festival so far has been an American entry, "Grace of Monaco." The Grace, of course, is Grace Kelly of the famed Philadelphia clan. The film, starring Nicole Kidman, has run into plenty of controversy as it attempts to tell the tale of the Philly girl turned princess and member of the royal family of Monaco. The royal family has blasted the film as “total fiction” but has since seemed to have backed off a bit.

The melodrama drew emphatic boos from critics in its screening today. The Hollywood Reporter called the film "a stiff, stagey, thunderingly earnest affair which has generated far more drama off screen than on."

The film depicts Kelly’s marriage to Prince Rainier III of Monaco. Its director, Olivier Dahan, has feuded with the distributor, Weinstein Co., over the final cut. But the two sides finally agreed on a cut before the red carpet rolled out today.

"There is only one version of the film," Dahan said, adding that any changes would be made mutually. "There is no longer any dispute. We work well together."

And Princess Stephanie of Monaco has criticized the film about her parents as inaccurate. (It's labeled "a fictional account inspired by real events.") She has refused to see the movie, judging it by its script.

Kidman called the circumstance "awkward."

The second film with Philly ties focuses on the bizarre wrestling career of John du Pont, an heir to the chemical company fortune. "Foxcatcher" tells the tale of du Pont and his killing of Olympic gold medalist wrestler Dave Schultz.

The murder took place in 1996 at DuPont’s estate in Delaware County. Schultz won a gold medal in 1984. He went to live and train at the state-of-the-art Foxcatcher National Training Center that du Pont had built on his 800-acre property in Newtown Square.

After the shooting, du Pont, who suffered from schizophrenia, barricaded himself inside his home for two days. He was finally taken into custody when he left his mansion to fix a boiler that was turned off by police. He was found guilty but mentally ill in the slaying and died in prison in 2010 at the age of 72.

The movie features Steve Carell as du Pont, Mark Ruffalo as Dave Schultz, and Channing Tatum as his brother, Mark Schultz. It was directed by Bennett Miller, known for "'Capote" and "Moneyball."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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