(Mike Collet-White’s article appeared on Reuters, 8/31.)

The Venice film festival promises a pop superstar and a whiff of scandal Thursday, with Madonna presenting her second feature and Roman Polanski notable by his absence at the world premiere of his new picture.

Madonna, 53, is in the canal city for "W.E.," a film loosely based on the relationship between American divorcee Wallis Simpson and Britain's King Edward VIII, which eventually led him to abdicate the throne in 1936.

Starring Abbie Cornish and James Fox, it is the singer's second outing behind the camera after the 2008 comedy drama "Filth and Wisdom," which was generally poorly received by critics.


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