Gautaman Bhaskaran
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Cannes 2006: The Da Vinci Code to open the Festival

The 59th Cannes International Film Festival will open with Ron Howard’s “The Da Vinci Code”. The Festival begins on May 17 2006, and the movie will be released worldwide on May 19, though it will open in France on May 17.

“The Da Vinci Code” will be screened in the section, Out Of Competition, at Cannes.

The film is based on Dan Brown’s best-selling novel, also known by the same name, and this was the fiction that catapulted the author into fame. The book has sold 30 million copies in about 40 languages.

The movie, like the written work, has Paris’ The Louvre Museum as one of its main backdrops, and has all the ingredients that make up a nail-biting thriller. Yes, it has a romantic angle as well.

Hanks and Tautou

The film, produced by Columbia Pictures and Imagine Entertainment, has Tom Hanks playing the lead role of Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon and Audrey Tautou as gifted French cryptologist, Sophie Neveu.

Director-producer-actor Howard – whose “A Beautiful Mind” tracing the life of math genius John Nash, won the Oscar for the Best Picture in 2002 – had his first Cannes screening in 1988 with “Willow”.

The question now is – and this is bound to trouble the Cannes Festival organisers as well – is whether “The Da Vinci Code” can be screened at all. Both the movie and the book have run into rough weather.

The Catholic group, Opus Dei, is demanding that the film be given an adult rating, because of the fear that children will believe the movie’s “lies”. One of them shows Jesus Christ having fathered a child, a version adapted from the book.

A more serious obstacle seems to be the legal action against Dan Brown’s tome. Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh, who co-wrote “The Holy Blood and The Holy Grail” 22 years ago, are suing Random House, which published Brown’s novel, for an alleged copyright violation. They contend that Brown had used their research material.

If Baigent and Leigh get the judge to rule in their favour, it could mean a serious blow to both Brown’s literary piece and Howard’s cinematic version.


The court case opened on February 27 2006 in London, and Brown appeared in court.

The verdic, delivered on April 7. went in Brown's favour.


(This story was posted on this website on January 23 2006 and updated on April 8 2006)

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