The Cannes Film Festival has officially opened with most critics giving thumbs down to this year's most controversial film - The Da Vinci Code.
Critics at the French resort Wednesday saw the film in advance of its official world premiere. Some called the movie slow and grim, while others laughed at what is supposed to be a dramatic climax.
The film is based on the best-selling novel that theorizes Jesus Christ and his disciple Mary Magdalene were married and had a child. It also contends the Roman Catholic Church used murder to conceal the relationship.
Some religious groups have called for a boycott of the film. But American director Ron Howard says the movie is entertainment, not theology, and recommends that anyone who would be offended just not go see it.
American actor Sidney Poitier officially opened the Cannes festival Wednesday. The festival is considered to be the world's most prestigious film competition. Twenty films from around the world, including Mexico, China, and Italy, are vying for the top prize, the Palme d'Or.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.