The London film festival opens on Wednesday with a red carpet premiere of 360, starring Rachel Weisz, Anthony Hopkins and Jude Law.

None of the three leading actors in the latest picture from City of God director Fernando Meirelles attended a press conference ahead of the evening gala screening, and Weisz and Hopkins were not expected on the red carpet at all in a relatively low-key start to this year's edition.

Last year the festival opened with Never Let Me Go, and young leads Keira Knightley, Andrew Garfield and Carey Mulligan all turned up to face the press, while in 2009 George Clooney was in town for the world premiere of Fantastic Mr. Fox.

The story of 360 follows a trail of entangled relationships around the world from a prostitute in Vienna to a grieving father traveling in Colorado.

It is loosely based on Arthur Schnitzler's La Ronde, a play that scandalized Europe at the start of the 20th century with its frank depiction of characters moving from one sexual partner to another.

I think of this film as a virus ... as viral romantic connections and the way in which the fact that we are in different countries and different cultures becomes completely irrelevant, said British screen writer Peter Morgan.

That made me think about our inter-connectivity internationally, and I wanted to set that up in a story of personal responsibility, added Morgan, best known for his Oscar-nominated scripts The Queen and Frost/Nixon.

The story weaves between Vienna, Bratislava, Paris, London, Colorado, Rio and Phoenix, whilst the language alternates between Slovak, English, Russian and French.

I think at the time I started writing this I was simultaneously engaged with the Bond film and I thought we should appropriate a similar amount of air miles in this story, joked Morgan, who sat alongside Brazil's Meirelles.

I wanted it to open ... with a Slovakian voiceover and for that to set the tone.

Immediately, an audience would understand 'okay, all right, hang on a minute, we've got Rachel Weisz, Anthony Hopkins, Jude Law, but what's going on, this is Slovakian?'

The 55th London film festival runs until October 27, showcasing over 200 fiction and documentary features from around the world.

Weisz also stars in the closing night film, Terence Davies' The Deep Blue Sea alongside Simon Russell Beale and Tom Hiddleston.

While the festival boasts 13 world premieres, 18 international premieres and 22 European premieres, the event must compete with more established festivals like Cannes, Venice and Toronto which attract more stars and world premieres.

360 had its world debut last month in Toronto and received mixed reviews.

London can play an important role in the awards season, however, as studios line up their top titles for a tilt at Oscar glory.

London also features several pictures which have won critical acclaim this year, including Clooney's The Ides of March and Lynne Ramsay's We Need to Talk About Kevin starring Tilda Swinton.