Friday, November 4, 2011

Grace Kelly exhibit at TIFF Lightbox

Four months after announcing the new exhibit, Grace Kelly: From Movie Star to Princess opens officially today at Toronto's Tiff Bell Lightbox. The first floor gallery space at Lightbox will be dedicated to rare items from the life of actress Grace Kelly who then became Princess of Monaco. This is the only North American venue to host this show.

The exhibition is based on the Grimaldi Forum’s “The Grace Kelly Years” exhibition in Monaco and the Victoria and Albert Museum’s “Grace Kelly: Style Icon” exhibition in London. Video footage includes moments with the Royal Family on their visit to Montreal for Expo '67.

Lightbox hosted an invitation-only opening on Wednesday night that was attended by Their Serene Highnesses Prince Albert II and Princess Charlène of Monaco.

As with earlier exhibitions, Lightbox will be screening related films. Icy Fire: The Hitchcock Blonde runs from November 4 to December 11. The Grace on Screen film series starts December 15 and continues to December 29.

Previously, the major Lightbox exhibitions were Tim Burton and Fellini: Spectacular Obsessions. The Tim Burton exhibit displayed numerous props, costumes, designs and other items from his major films as well as his early films, notes and sketches. The Fellini exhibit provided a wealth of photographs and images from his films and inspirations.

There has been industry talk that a new biopic on the life of Grace Kelly is in the works. Producer Pierre-Ange Le Pogam has acquired the spec script Grace of Monaco by Arash Amel, which has been described as similar to The King's Speech in style and scope.

Grace Kelly: From Movie Star to Princess continues until Jan 22, 2012. Tickets are $15. Free for TIFF members. For the combined price of $22, get one ticket to a film of your choice from Icy Fire: The Hitchcock Blonde (November 4 - December 11) or the Grace on Screen film series (December 15 - 29) and a ticket to the exhibition Grace Kelly: From Movie Star to Princess.


“The thing that made her stand out is what we call style.” — McCall’s magazine, 1955

Grace Kelly (1929–1982) is among the defining figures of our age. The key events of her life—a meteoric rise to fame in 1950s Hollywood and subsequent retirement from film, at age 26, to marry Rainier III, Prince of Monaco—constitute one of the twentieth-century’s real-life fairytales. But Kelly was also down-to-earth: an elegant, smart woman whose cultivation of a unique personal style continues to have a lasting impact on culture

Born November 12, 1929, the third child of the prestigious Kelly family of Philadelphia, Grace was in the spotlight from an early age. Her father, Jack, was a millionaire entrepreneur, a triple Olympic Gold Medal–winner in rowing, as well as a politician: his failed campaign for mayor in 1935 was one of Grace’s first tastes of the public spotlight. On graduating from high school, she entered the famed American Academy of the Dramatic Arts in New York. Modelling and television jobs followed, and soon her first film role in Henry Hathaway's Fourteen Hours. Kelly then signed a contract with MGM, appearing in a number of important films during her brief but very successful Hollywood career. Her collaborations with Hitchcock, a friend and mentor, are a high point: DIAL M FOR MURDER, REAR WINDOW AND TO CATCH A THIEF.

In 1955, Kelly met Prince Rainier III of Monaco, while in Europe for the Cannes film festival. The encounter changed her life. A whirlwind courtship ensued, and then a much-publicized engagement. On April 18, Kelly was married in a lavish wedding produced, in large part, by MGM, including a wedding gown by MGM chief costumier, Helen Rose. She would never return to acting, instead devoting her life to her new position as Her Serene Highness Princess of Monaco. Throughout, and especially for her vast charitable work as Princess, Kelly dressed the part, patronizing the illustrious couture houses of Europe—Dior, Givenchy, Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent—and adding to them her unique take on practical American style.

Kelly’s life was among the most documented of all time. She may have been the most photographed woman of the last century, and has left us with copious letters of great charm as well as home movies shot with her own hand. What emerges is a figure sure in her own self-creation, fully aware of her consecutive, iconic roles as movie star, bride and Princess of Monaco.

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