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‘Ides’ preems at Venice film fest

Grand parties range from lux to lax

The Wednesday opening of George Clooney’s “The Ides of March,” complete with a six-course banquet buffet under tents, augured a return to the grand, old party style of the Venice Film Festival.

But the lux turned to relaxed the next night for the opening of Madonna’s “W.E.” While the star had fans screaming outside as she strode the red carpet, there was no post-preem bash.

The next night, Madonna did attend a private dinner, hosted by Gucci creative director Frida Giannini, where she presented the new Gucci Women in Cinema award to Jessica Chastain as guests Salma Hayek, Robin Wright and Valeria Golino applauded.

About 300 guests gathered on the Danieli Hotel terrace Saturday night for Variety’s annual party saluting world film. Constantin topper Martin Moszkowicz received the award for achievement in international film, preceded by welcome speeches from fest artistic director Marco Mueller, Variety’s group editor Tim Gray and Starwood-Danieli Hotel’s Antonello De Medici.

Saturday turned into Sunday when James Franco premiered “Sal” and thanked the SRO crowd for coming out despite its midnight slot. “At least we’re not competing with George Clooney and Madonna,” he said of his “humble movie about a humble man.”

When “Sal” ended after 2 a.m., there was no party but Franco reminded the departing throng, “I hear that Venice is best between 1 a.m. and seven.”

If that’s true, that must be when the stars, who included a visiting Owen Wilson, cool down at Cipriani.

On Sunday night, Al Pacino escorted Chastain to the unveiling of his years-in-the-making docu “Wilde Salome,” which was preceded by a Jaeger-LeCoultre award presentation to Pacino, followed by a Jaeger-LeCoultre dinner.

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