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Inarritu’s ‘Birdman’ opens Venice Film Festival

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VENICE, Italy (AP) — A film in which art and fame battle it out in the streets and skies of Manhattan has kicked off the 71st Venice Film Festival, where high-art aspirations mix with Hollywood hopes.

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s “Birdman” stars former “Batman” Michael Keaton as an over-the-hill action star struggling to recover a sense of self-worth by mounting a heavyweight Broadway play.

The film had its first screening for journalists Wednesday ahead of an evening gala attended by the director and stars Keaton, Edward Norton and Emma Stone.

Early reaction to the genre-blending was positive. Britain’s Daily Telegraph called it “grand, spectacular, star-powered cinema,” while Variety labeled Keaton’s performance “the comeback of the century.”

The movie is one of 20 competing for the Golden Lion at the festival, which runs to Sept. 6.