Venice Film Festival 2021: stars return to red carpet in force for opening night

Penelope Cruz, Barbara Palvin and Helen Mirren were among the famous faces to walk the red carpet

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Penelope Cruz and Helen Mirren led the comeback of film stars to the red carpet for the 78th annual Venice International Film Festival on its opening night on Wednesday.

After a year without its traditional red carpet glitz and glam for the 2020 event, the world’s oldest film festival enjoyed a return to full festivities with its opening ceremony, for which stars turned out in full force at the Lido waterfront.

Cruz, whose film Parallel Mothers premiered on the festival’s opening night, wore a classic black and white Chanel gown for the occasion.

Mirren paid tribute to Italian fashion, opting for a sequinned Dolce & Gabbana gown. The Oscar-winning actress was in Venice earlier in the week for the design duo’s Alta Moda show, alongside a host of other A-list names.

Models Adriana Lima, Barbara Palvin and Sara Sampaio brought the glamour, while Bianca Balti took things up a notch with a Beauty and the Beast-inspired gold Dolce & Gabbana gown.

Scroll through the gallery above to see more looks from the Venice Film Festival’s opening night.

Hollywood has returned to the international festival circuit with confidence at this year's Venice Film Festival, with some heavyweight movies set to be unveiled and stars in attendance on the red carpet.

Out of competition, perhaps the biggest film to be screened is Denis Villeneuve’s Dune, an epic adaptation of Frank Herbert’s 1965 sci-fi novel set far in the future on a desert planet named Arrakis.

In competition will be The Power of the Dog, Jane Campion’s first film in 12 years; Paul Schrader’s The Card Counter; and Mounia Akl’s Costa Brava, Lebanon, starring actor-director Nadine Labaki.

The 78th Venice International Film Festival runs until Saturday, September 11

Updated: September 02, 2021, 8:36 AM