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Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 October 2007, 10:44 GMT 11:44 UK
Mob drama begins London festival
Viggo Mortensen and Naomi Watts in Eastern Promises
David Cronenberg's crime thriller was wholly shot in London
The London Film Festival starts later with Eastern Promises, a thriller about Russian criminals based in the capital.

Directed by David Cronenberg, the film - which stars Viggo Mortensen and Naomi Watts - is one of more than 180 movies being screened at the two-week event.

Watts, Steve Buscemi and director David Lynch are among the celebrities taking part in talks and special events.

Tom Cruise, Robert Redford and Meryl Streep are expected to attend Monday's premiere of their film Lions for Lambs.

Other stars scheduled to attend screenings include Halle Berry, Sienna Miller, Samantha Morton and John Cusack.

Halle Berry
Halle Berry is one of the celebrities scheduled to attend
Directors Ang Lee, Sean Penn and Michael Moore will also be in attendance - the latter to present Sicko, his controversial documentary on the US health care system.

Appearances by Robert Rodriguez and Ben Affleck have been cancelled, however, as have two screenings of Affleck's film Gone Baby Gone.

The film's distributors decided to postpone UK distribution of the child abduction drama due to its accidental similarities to the Madeleine McCann case.

The festival ends on 1 November with The Darjeeling Limited, a comedy about three American brothers travelling around India.

'Rude health'

Artistic director Sandra Hebron has described the event as "a showcase for the best of world cinema".

More than 40 countries will be represented, while the festival will host seven world and more than 100 UK premieres.

Jason Schwartzman, Adrien Brody and Owen Wilson in The Darjeeling Limited
The festival ends on 1 November with Wes Anderson's new comedy
"It seems that national cinema, for the most part, is in rude health," Ms Hebron writes in this year's programme.

This year's festival has faced competition for films and celebrity guests.

The event coincides with the second annual Rome Film Festival, which opens on Thursday with a screening of French gangster film Le Deuxieme Souffle (Second Wind).

There have been reports, however, that next year's Rome event will move to avoid another clash.

Noami Watts talks about her film Eastern Promises

Thieves steal new Coppola script
28 Sep 07 |  Entertainment
Cronenberg film wins Canada prize
16 Sep 07 |  Entertainment
Iraq invades London Film Festival
13 Sep 07 |  Entertainment
London mob film to open festival
01 Aug 07 |  Entertainment
Moore courts Cannes controversy
19 May 07 |  Entertainment

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