Venice film fest may offer Oscar hints
A BEWITCHING musical starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone opened the Venice film festival yesterday, kicking off a US-heavy line-up of flicks vying for the coveted Golden Lion.
Damien Chazelle's La La Landre unites the stars, who appeared together in the 2011 romcom Crazy, Stupid, Love.
This world premiere of the tale about a struggling jazz pianist and his actress girlfriend is the first of 20 movies in competition at the film festival, which runs till Sept 10.
Dystopian love stories, period dramas, adventure epics, revised Westerns and sci-fi thrillers are all showing at the Lido extravaganza, where Hollywood's creme de la creme rock up in water taxis to dazzle on the red carpet.
All eyes will be on the jury, led by British film director Sam Mendes, for hints as to the next Oscar favourite.
Security is high at the venue, with road blocks and bag checks after the summer's terror attacks in Europe.
Films battling for the Lion include Ana Lily Amirpour's The Bad Patch, set in a Texas wasteland and starring Keanu Reeves and Jim Carrey, as well as Derek Cianfrance's romantic period drama The Light Between Oceans, with real-life couple Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander.
Among the most anticipated premieres is Terrence Malick's 3D documentary about the birth and death of the universe.
Voyage Of Time, a project 40 years in the making, is narrated by Cate Blanchett.
Mel Gibson will be making his directorial comeback after a 10-year break with Hacksaw Ridge about a World War II army medic - the only conscientious objector to win the Congressional Medal of Honour.
And there is already a buzz about the out-of-competition offering The Young Pope, a 10-part series by HBO telling the life of fictional Pius XIII, with a cigarette-smoking Jude Law as the first American pontiff in history.