By Indiewire | Indiewire September 5, 2006 at 10:51AM
Two British icons dominated the opening of the Venice Film Festival: a dignified, elderly lady from London, and a feisty pop icon from Liverpool. Stephen Frears' superb film "The Queen" featured a cracking turn from Helen Mirren, playing our emotionally dysfunctional head of state in 1997, fighting to regain the public's love after the Diana crash. David Leaf and John Scheinfeld's documentary "The US vs John Lennon" looks into John Lennon's post-Beatles career, when he became a counter-culture activist, a time of bed-ins and happenings and wackily inspired press conferences. Peter Bradshaw reports.