The finalists for the 69th Venice Film Festival have been announced amid much excitement, bbc.co.uk reports.
They include 'To The Wonder' directed by Terrence Malick and Bryan De Palma's 'Passion'. The two films have been included on a 'slimmed down' shortlist of just 18 films, competing for the prestigious Golden Lion award.
Malick's film is a romantic drama starring Rachel McAdams, Ben Affleck and Rachel Weisz, while De Palma's 'murderous' tale of revenge features Noomi Rapace and McAdams again. Other entrants include Spike Lee's Michael Jackson film, 'Bad 25' and Robert Redford's 'The Company You Keep', reuters.com writes.
This year, the festival will be opened by Mira Nair's 9/11 thriller, 'The Reluctant Fundamentalist'.
The festival, which runs from 29 August until 8 September, attracts the glitterati of the international film industry while showcasing Venice's splendour to a worldwide audience.
The city's other pre-eminent event, the Venice Carnival, is just as huge and has featured recently on the BBC4 documentary 'Venice 24/7'. First shown in the spring, this six-part series followed Venice's emergency services as they negotiated rising water levels, low bridges and labyrinth streets in order to keep the locals and tourists safe.
Episode two revolved around the Carnival and showed the piazzas filled with masked revellers before the Carnival Angel was 'flown' down to officially declare the annual event open. Of all the items on the Carnival itinerary, the masked balls are the most anticipated; in particular, the 'A list' and exclusive Il Ballo del Doge.
Both events make clear why Venice remains so popular with travellers from around the world.