George Clooney may only be playing a politician in “The Ides of March,” but you’d think it was his life’s calling from the way he worked the crowd at the Aug. 31 opening of the Venice Film Festival. Clooney practically danced around the vast red carpeted expanse of the Sala Grande, shaking hands, signing autographs, posing for pics — everything but doing handstands.

As Rosemary Clooney’s recording of “Mambo Italiano” played in the background, Clooney, the first of his troupe to arrive, was joined by his many co-stars, including Evan Rachel Wood, whose gown was evocative of a 1950s princess named Grace.

The following day belonged to “Carnage,” which brought John C. Reilly, Kate Winslet and Christoph Waltz to Venice.