Hollywood is making its annual trip to Venice, with the world's oldest film festival kicking off yesterday.
Celeb spotters might this year see Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman, protagonists of Paul Thomas Anderson's long-awaited film The Master, plus Gerard Depardieu, Kristin Scott Thomas, Pierce Brosnan and others milling around the Lido or arriving in water taxis.
But the real debate this year is over what kind of event to expect after a TV channel owned Silvio Berlusconi half-jokingly suggested the festival be R-rated. The TG 24 channel was no doubt referring to debuts such as Harmony Korine's Spring Breakers, said to be notable for its "sexual transgression" and To the Wonder, the latest from directing legend Terrence Malick, which has officially been ruled unsuitable for young viewers owing to its high content of sex and nudity.
However, judging by the comments of festival director Alberto Barbera, pictured, cineastes should rest assured that the line-up bears little resemblance to the questionable content screened on Mr Berlusconi's own TV channels. Mr Barbera told reporters in Rome last month that a festival "should not just be a catwalk for celebrities".
Among the newcomers is Haifaa al-Mansour from Saudi Arabia — where cinemas are banned and women face terrible discrimination — with her film Wadjda, about a little girl desperate for a bicycle which she is not allowed. It's hard to see Mr Berlusconi's Rete 4 channel ditching nightly repeats of Walker, Texas Ranger or straight-to-video Steven Seagal for that.
- 1 King Salman: Just five days in, Saudi Arabia's new king has already overseen a beheading
- 2 The BBC has just done more to eradicate ‘terrorism’ than all our wars since 9/11
- 4 Presidential optical illusion offers clues to how brain processes faces
King Salman: Just five days in, Saudi Arabia's new king has already overseen a beheading
Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary: Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Ukip Jelly Babies cause uproar on Amazon
Chilling drone footage captures Auschwitz ahead of 70th anniversary of liberation
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Front End Web Developer is re...
£250 - £300 per day: Investigo: Growing international marketing business requi...
£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ORM Consultant is required t...
£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of educat...