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Iranian Director Farhadi's Film Shown At Open Of Cannes Festival

Spanish actress Penelope Cruz (left) and Spanish actor Javier Bardem in a scene from Iranian director Asghar Farhadi's latest film Everybody Knows.

Oscar-winning Iranian director Asghar Farhadi's psychological thriller has played at the opening of the Cannes Film Festival while other Iranian, Russian, and Kazakh films were in the running for the festival's coveted Palme d'Or award.

Starring Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz, Todos Lo Saben (Everybody Knows) is Farhadi's first movie in Spanish and the first Spanish-language movie to launch the festival since Pedro Almodovar's Bad Education in 2004.

Farhadi's film is one of 21 in the competition for the Palme d'Or. Also in the running is the film Three Faces, a portrait of three women by Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi, who has been prohibited by Tehran from attending the festival.

Also prohibited from attending the showing of his film at the festival is Russian film director Kirill Serebrennikov, who remains under house arrest in Moscow.

Serebrennikov's film Leto (Summer) tells the story of Soviet-Korean rock legend Viktor Tsoi, whose songs are seen in Russia as anthems of the late 1980s perestroika era.

Serebrennikov edited the film under house arrest after he was detained on embezzlement charges he dismisses as "absurd."

A second Russian filmmaker, Andrei Zvyagintsev, is attending the festival and serving on the jury that will award the Palme d'Or.

A late entry in the festival was Kazakh director Sergei Dvortsevoy’s documentary-drama Ayka. It tells the story of a young homeless single mother adrift in the post-Soviet Central Asian state.

Now in its 71st year, the Cannes festival has faced a series of challenges this year, including a feud with U.S. online movie giant Netflix over the screening of its movies and fallout from the scandal that has engulfed U.S. movie mogul Harvey Weinstein over dozens of alleged sexual assaults on women.

Based on reporting by dpa, AFP, and AP