Stars come out for Moscow Film Festival

The major Russian film event of the year, the 29th International Moscow Film Festival, has officially opened. Over the next nine days, about 170 films from more than 20 different countries will be shown.

The ceremony took place at Moscow's Pushkinsky cinema.

Besides the main programme, the festival will have a so-called prospective competition, where young director who've made only one or two films can take part.

The festival also presents a series of retrospectives, which include Milos Forman's early films, and movies by Emir Kusturica.

Organisers say it is the variety of non-competition programmes that makes the film festival not only an arena of fierce competition between the film makers, but also a large cultural event.

The Moscow International Film Festival is the world's second oldest after Venice's. It was conceived in 1935 by Stalin himself and was opened with the legendary Soviet biopic “Chapayev”. Then, partly due to the Second World War, the festival temporarily stopped – until 1959, when it was re-launched, and held every 2 years. It finally became an annual event in 1995.

During Soviet times, for many it was the only window into the world of Western cinema. And now every year the brightest stars of world cinema top the guest lists.