08/30/2011 08:27 am ET | Updated Oct 30, 2011

Venice Film Festival: George Clooney's 'The Ides Of March' Opens The Festival (VIDEO)

VENICE, Italy — Associated Press

George Clooney's "The Ides of March" opens a star-studded Venice Film Festival that promises appearances by two other Hollywood actor/directors.

Clooney's cynical political drama is among 23 films – five from Hollywood – vying for the coveted Golden Lion, which will be awarded Sept. 10.

The jury will be headed by Darren Aronofsky, a two-time Golden Lion winner whose "Black Swan" was launched to huge success after opening in Venice last year.

"The Ides of March" opens the 68th edition of the world's oldest festival Wednesday. Clooney will be followed on the Lido by other Hollywood actor/directors Madonna and Al Pacino, both premiering biopics out of competition.

Clooney's political thriller, starring himself and Ryan Gosling, follows an idealistic governor running for president who gets a dose of dirty politics along the way, a la "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington."

WATCH the trailer: