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'Space, Stars And Taboo Sex'

'Space, Stars And Taboo Sex'

* Oldest global film fest tries to see off upstarts

* Will open with premiere of space fantasy "Gravity"

* Films starring Johansson, Efron, Damon vie for Golden Lion

By Michael Roddy

London, Aug 25 (Reuters) - Space, stars and taboo sex will be on display in Venice this week as the world's oldest international film festival fights to keep its head above water in a city slowly slipping into the sea.

The 70th Venice Film Festival will try and see off competition from increasingly popular extravaganzas in Rome and Toronto by opening with the world premiere of 3D space fantasy "Gravity", starring George Clooney and Sandra Bullock.

Directed by Mexico's Alfonso Cuaron, of "Children of Men" and Harry Potter-sequel fame, the film depicts Bullock and Clooney as astronauts cast adrift after disaster strikes their shuttle.

"I think the main theme of Venice is that it is proving it is not letting Toronto take

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