The Venice Film Festival has kicked off with the British film “Atonement” opening the proceedings. The screen adaptation of Ian McEwan’s acclaimed novel stars Keira Knightley and is hotly tipped to take away the Golden Lion award for Best Film. Its Oscar potential next year is already being talked up. For the first time, the Festival jury, headed by Zhang Yimou, will have to give a prize to a film with a gay theme or characters. The winners of Best Film, Director, Actor and Actress will be unveiled at the festival’s climax on September 8.