वेनिस फ़िल्म समारोह की शुरुआत
Venice has sometimes been the launch pad for films which went on to do well in the Academy Awards - but the effects of the Hollywood writers' strike mean the US presence is slightly down this year. But the attendance of Brad Pitt and George Clooney at the Burn After Reading premiere will give Venice some star-power, even though the film isn't actually in competition.
The seven-member jury - headed by the German director Wim Wenders - have until a week on Saturday to choose the best of the 21 films in the main competition. Four of those films are Italian - an unusually high number. But there are new works too from Ethiopia, Algeria and a Japanese-Brazilian co-production. And one of the US movies is directed by Amir Naderi, who started his movie career in his native Iran.
As these big film festivals show, the world of cinema gets more international by the year.
Vincent Dowd, BBC News, Venice