Hollywood Hits the Red Carpet

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VENICE FILM FESTIVAL: The largest crowds during the first half of the 68th edition of the world's oldest film festival came for pop-music legend Madonna. Her film W.E. chronicles the marriage of King Edward VIII to American divorcee Wallis Simpson, which forced the British monarch to abdicate the throne. The Material Girl caused a stir when asked if she'd give up her throne as an icon for a man or a woman, as Edward did. Her response: "I don't see why I can't have both or all three: the throne, a man and a woman." Star-writer-director George Clooney's much-talked-about Sony thriller The Ides of March opened the fest at the Palazzo del Cinema, and other A-list celebrities on the Lido included Keira Knightley and Viggo Mortensen, stars of director David Cronenberg's new drama about Freud and Jung, A Dangerous Method, and Gary Oldman and Colin Firth, who generated buzz for Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. But perhaps the most ubiquitous attendee was Kate Winslet, whose films Carnage and Contagion and miniseries Mildred Pierce screened. Said the star: "It just so happens that the last 15 months of my life are all here during a three-day span."  -- Eric J. Lyman

Deauville Film Festival
The red carpet sparkled with sun and stars Sept. 2 as the 37th annual Deauville American Film Festival kicked off on a beautiful Normandy night. Guest of honor Francis Ford Coppola won a standing ovation when he took to the stage to officially declare the festival open. "I'm thrilled to be here to commemorate American cinema," he said. Shirley MacLaine was honored with a tribute to her career in cinema, and the cast of The Help showed up for the Gallic premiere of their film, which opens Oct. 26 in France. "I'm so grateful. For a little girl from Jackson, Miss., to be here in glamorous Deauville is incredible," said the novel's author, Kathryn Stockett. -- Rebecca Leffler

Telluride Film Festival
The 38th annual fest again was a cineaste's paradise, with the likes of Butter's Jennifer Garner, Pina's Wim Wenders and Into the Abyss' Werner Herzog making the trek into the Colorado mountains. George Clooney wowed with his turn in Alexander Payne's The Descendants, The Artist emerged as a crowd-pleaser, and Tilda Swinton received a career tribute at the Sheridan Opera House. "It's over," she joked. "It's time I go off and join a haberdashery."  -- Jay A. Fernandez