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Glitterati gather in Venice for 68th film festival

media George Clooney's Ides of March kicks off 68th festival Wikimedia Commons/Georges Biard

Hollywood hearthrob George Clooney is to open the 68th edition of the Venice Film Festival on Tuesday with his hotly anticipated Ides of March. The film is competitiing for the coveted Golden Lion award.

Clooney will be hoping to win his first award as a director. He already won the award for the best screenplay and best actor in Venice in 2005 for Goodnight and Goodluck.

He is not the only A-list celebrity to grace the festival this year. Al Pacino is presenting his third film as a director with a version of Oscar Wilde’s once-banned Salome. Other highlights include Swedish director Tomas Alfredson’s adaptation of John Le Carre's Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy starring Oscar-winnng British actor Colin Firth.

Controversial director Roman Polanski will also be competing for his first Golden Lion with Carnage starring Jodie Foster and Kate Winslet  based on an acclaimed French play. And Canadian director David Cronenberg is presenting A Dangerous Method starring French actor Vincent Cassel and Keira Knightley,

Ahead of the festival, controversy has already struck the Asian entries. Taiwan has strongly protested to the festival organisers for wrongly listing Seediq Bale as co-produced by China although it was solely funded and produced by Taiwan.

The festival ends on 10 September.

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