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.
filmFilm producers sue Warner Bros for $75m over Hobbit films
sportNapoli 2 Arsenal 0: Gunners must now face either Real Madrid, PSG, Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid or Barcelona in knock-out stages
Swedish stars ask fans for £195 pledges on crowd-funding website
voicesJust when you thought you could find a man, get married, and have a baby by the age of 35... it turns out you’re too late, says Grace Dent
musicAs Mariah Carey and Noddy Holder rake in the royalties from their classics, why there hasn't been a decent festive hit for 20 years?
theatreAuthor Daniel Rosenthal recalls the mishaps that almost brought the curtain down on the likes of John Gielgud and Diana Rigg
lifeAs the Royal Mail plans to phase out deliveries on two wheels, it's no wonder posties are in a spin
musicThe 21-year-old beat Ella Eyre and Chlöe Howl to win the honour
lifeFull of the joys and want to help your fellow man? December isn't the time to do it
techLuke Blackall reports on precision engineered prams and babygros that monitor your child 24-7
Nelson Mandela memorial: ‘Bogus’ interpreter made mockery of Barack Obama’s tribute in Soweto
David Cameron explains selfie with Obama and Helle Thorning-Schmidt at Mandela Memorial
French café starts charging extra to rude customers
Krokodil in Mexico? Teenager hospitalised after 'injecting drug into her genitals'
Australia incest case: Filthy and severely deformed children found in remote farming community after generations of inbreeding
- 1 Nelson Mandela memorial: ‘Bogus’ interpreter made mockery of Barack Obama’s tribute in Soweto
- 2 French café starts charging extra to rude customers
- 3 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 4 Is Facebook making us forget? Study shows that taking pictures ruin memories
- 5 Australia incest case: Filthy and severely deformed children found in remote farming community after generations of inbreeding
£37000 per annum + benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: Audit Senior - Watford If...
£77099.84 - £96375.26 per annum + Bonus + Benefits : Harrington Starr: My clie...
£45000 - £60000 per annum + Bonus and Package: Harrington Starr: Trading appli...
£35000 - £38000 per annum + Benefits: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Developer (Win...