PARIS, May 15 (Xinhua) -- The 66th Cannes Film Festival, one of the world's leading annual cinema showcases, kicks off Wednesday evening in the rain with Leonardo DiCaprio heralding the opening ceremony.
The spectra event attracted numerous film makers, stars, directors, journalists, photographers, cinephiles and even curious stars' fans heading from all over the world to the French Riviera in the South coast.
Led by Steven Spielberg, one of the film industry's most successful film makers and winner of the Golden Palm of 1974 , nine juries of the film festival walked through the red carpet in the rain, among whom Australian actress Nicole Kidman attracted most spotlight.
Movie stars all in fabulous evening dresses braved the rain or carried umbrella while passing photographers and videographers, heading to the opening ceremony venue Cannes Film Palace.
French actress Audrey Tautou (actress in movie "Amelie") chaired the opening of the 66th Cannes Film Festival.
The 2013 edition which runs from May 15 to 26 will showcase nearly 80 movies. The Europe's biggest film gathering is marked by strong featuring of American movies with five films competing for the coveted Palme d'Or. Behind the Candelabra, directed by Steven Sodergergh, the winner of the festival prestigious prize in 1989, Winners of 1991 edition, the brother Cohen and the veteran of American cinema industry Jim Jarmush are also in the running with "Inside Llewyn Davis" and "Only Lovers Left Alive."
France has five movies in competition, and is also defending its chances to win this year's prestigious prizes and guaranteed a success of Paris cinema.
Asian cinema has representatives to be screening on this year's festival, such as "A Touch of Sin" by sixth-generation director Jia Zhang Ke from China mainland, "Bend" by first-time director Flora Lau, and "Blind Detective" by veteran Johnnie To Kei-Fung, both of whom are from Hongkong, China.
This year's official banner for the Festival pays homage to a famous couple, Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman, photographed here during the shoot for the aptly named "A New Kind of Love" in 1963.
A total of 20 films are competing for Cannes festival top prize this session. The winners will be announced and awarded at the closing ceremony on the 26th of this month.