Venice Film Festival opens with "Birdman"

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The 71st Venice film festival which is the world’s oldest has opened with the premier of “Birdman”.

It is the first offering of 20 films in competition for the jury to consider .

It stars Edward Norton, Michael Keaton and Emma Stone among others and brings some star power to the festival which is at risk of being sidelined by Cannes in May and Toronto next week.

Having said that, last year’s Venice opener, “Gravity” went on to win seven Academy Awards.

“Birdman is directed by Mexico’s Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and has been tipped as a serious contender for the festival’s Golden Lion award.

It tells the tale of an over-the-hill actor who was once famous for playing a superhero but who is now struggling to put on a Broadway play.