Chicago Tribune

Venice Film Festival preview: Can 'Joker,' Brad Pitt, Scarlett Johansson and 'Birth of a Nation''s Nate Parker continue the festival's hot streak?

Begun in 1932, the Venice International Film Festival can be described the way "Guys and Dolls" described gambler Nathan Detroit's livelihood. It's the oldest established permanent floating crap game in the business.

The festival's headquarters, the Palazzo del Cinema not far from the swank Hotel Excelsior facing the Adriatic Sea, is located on the Lido, a beach-lined, gelato-intensive seven-mile-long island across the water from Venice proper.

Mussolini's Fascist regime launched the film component of the Venice Biennale on the Lido to "bring prestige and tourists to Italy," as the critic Kenneth Tynan wrote in 1965. "And to

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