The 68th Venice Film Festival opened on Thursday with the world premiere of The Ides of March, a thriller directed by and starring George Clooney.
The film, which also stars Ryan Gosling and Philip Seymour Hoffman, is one of 22 films in competition for the top awards at the 10-day event.
Clooney plays a presidential candidate whose campaign becomes embroiled in sexual scandal and dirty tricks.
Among the other films in competition are Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, a new adaptation of a novel by John Le Carre, starring Gary Oldman and Colin Firth.
A Dangerous Method by David Cronenberg tells of the relationship between Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung and stars Viggo Mortensen and Keira Knightley.
Roman Polanski is represented with Carnage, a dark comedy starring Jodie Foster and Kate Winslet. Carey Mulligan appears in a brother-sister drama Shame by Steve McQueen.
The Venice film festival is the oldest on the international circuit.
This year's jury is chaired by Black Swan director Darren Aronofsky, with musician David Byrne among the judges.