Atonement, the British film starring Keira Knightley, is to kick off the Venice Film Festival this evening.

Stars and critics will attend the opening ceremony of the glamorous festival in the Palazzo del Cinema which is hosted by the Italian actress Ambra Angiolini.

This ceremony will be followed by Antonello Sarno's documentary Venezia 75 before the screening of Atonement.

Adapted from the bestselling book by Ian McEwan, the film is directed by Joe Wright and has an enviable cast including Knightley, Vanessa Redgrave and James McAvoy.

Also attending the festival is Saoirse Ronan, who plays Knightley's younger sister in Atonement.

In celebration of the festival's 75th year the Venezia 64 international is composed entirely of filmmakers, as happened on the 50th anniversary in 1982.

The jury will be presided over by Zhang Yimou and will award the Golden Lion to the best film.

Held at the Venice Lido, the festival runs until September 8th and will hand the 75th anniversary Golden Lion to Bernardo Bertolucci and the Golden Lion for lifetime achievement to Tim Burton.

29/08/2007 14:38:01