'Black Swan’, a dark thriller set against the backdrop of the world of ballet, was set later Wednesday to open the Venice Film Festival, the world’s oldest cinema competition which this year marks its 67th edition.

Starring Natalie Portman, Vincent Cassel and Winona Ryder, Black Swan is one of 24 films vying for the festival’s top Golden Lion award.

Despite its long-standing reputation for showcasing art-house cinema and fresh talent from Asia, Africa and Latin America, the Venice Film Festival has in recent years also premiered several films that have gone on to become global blockbusters as well as Oscar winners.

This year, besides Black Swan -- directed by Darren Aronofsky, a previous Golden Lion winner with The Wrestler in 2008 -- several other U.S.-produced films are also expected to attract wide interest.

These include Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere and the Ben Affleck-directed The Town, which is screening out of competition.

Quentin Tarantino heads the jury of the festival which runs until September 11.