George Clooney and Sandra Bullock to open Venice film festival

image captionClooney and Bullock are the only two actors seen on screen in the film

Sci-fi film Gravity, starring George Clooney and Sandra Bullock, is to open the Venice Film Festival in August.

The 3D movie, directed by Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron, sees the pair as astronauts on an ill-fated mission.

Cuaron's Y tu mama tambien won two awards at the festival in 2001 - best scenario and best young male talent for actors Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna.

The gala on the Venice Lido runs until from 28 August to 7 September.

Last Tango in Paris director Bernardo Bertolucci - whose debut film, The Grim Reaper, showed at the festival in 1962 - will lead the jury for this year's Golden Lion for best film.

US director William Friedkin, best known for his films The French Connection and The Exorcist, will also receive a lifetime achievement award.

He described the festival as his "spiritual home", adding he would accept the honorary prize "with gratitude and love".

Cuaron's film features Clooney and Bullock as astronauts attempting to return to Earth after debris crashes into their space shuttle, leaving them drifting alone in orbit.

The rest of the festival line-up is yet to be announced, but films being tipped to be screened include Under the Skin, starring Scarlett Johansson as an alien and Twelve Years a Slave, the latest film from British director Steve McQueen starring Brad Pitt, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Fassbender.

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