Cannes: Woody Allen's 'Midnight in Paris', a delightful romantic film set in the French capital kicked off the 64th edition of the Cannes Film Festival.

So amusing was it with its witty one-liners that the usually stiff lipped Cannes critics were caught laughing and even clapping.

'Midnight In Paris' is almost a love letter to the City of Lights, with its classic French humour, seductive romance and inspiring heritage. The film's first shots of Paris is reminiscent of Allen's 1978 classic, 'Manhattan'.

The Owen Wilson-Rachel McAdams starrer was screened to a packed audience that did not include French First Lady Carla Bruni, who makes a cameo as a museum curator in the film.

Wilson plays a Hollywood scriptwriter with dreams to turn a novelist and McAdams plays his fiancee. The film also stars Michael Sheen and Marion Cotillard.

The opening night also had Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci, the man behind classics like 'Last Tango in Paris' and 'The Last Emperor', honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Palm D'Or by the Cannes Film Festival.

Remarking that he had been in Cannes four times before without winning anything, Bertolucci thanked the Festival for finally giving him the Palme "for this movie made up of segments of all my movies."

The 71-year-old director, who was brought in on a wheelchair, jocularly quipped that his life was now a "constant dolly movement".

The first day of the prestigious festival was not without controversy as a French journalist tried to provoke actor Robert De Niro during the jury press conference.

But it was taken all in jest, as De Niro, who is heading the Cannes jury, did not react and carried on with the conference.