Venice Film Festival Kicks Off

The Venice film festival has kicked off. The world’s oldest film festival opened with “Gravity”, a 3-D sci-fi thriller starring George Clooney and Sandra Bullock as astronauts who are flung into deep space when a debris shower destroys their shuttle. Other premieres include “Parkland”, Peter Landesman’s re-creation of John F. Kennedy’s assassination and David Gordon Green’s brutal “Joe” with Nicholas Cage as a violent ex-con who teams up with a homeless teen.
“This festival draws its strength from the risks it takes,” this year’s jury president, Oscar-winning Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci, said on the eve of the opening ceremony. The 70th edition of the festival is being held in Venice’s Lido island and will run to September 7.
Alongside Clooney, Bullock and Cage, red carpet stars will include Scarlett Johansson, Matt Damon, Zac Efron and South Korea’s Kim Ki-duk whose grim morality tale “Pieta” won the Golden Lion prize last year. Twenty films are up for the Lion this year. The jury is headed up by Bertolucci, best known for his raunchy 1972 “Last Tango in Paris”, and includes British director Andrea Arnold (“Red Road”) and German actress Martina Gedeck (“The Lives of Others”).

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