The 51st edition of the London Film Festival kicked off last night with a red carpet gala for David Cronenberg's Eastern Promises. An article in Variety says that Cronenberg attended and even joked with the audience: "The reason you might not recognize London in this film is that it was shot in Prague." The now-notorious scene in which a naked Viggo Mortensen battles brutes in a bathhouse reportedly drew a round of applause.

Cast members Naomi Watts and Vincent Cassel were in attendance, as well as a treasure trove of celebrities, including Colin Firth, Martin Freeman and Elle McPherson. Check out the Cinematical photo gallery of the premiere below to get a taste of the red carpet.

Next Monday night, Robert Redford's political drama Lions for Lambs will have its world premiere, with Redford and stars Tom Cruise and Meryl Streep scheduled to attend. Other upcoming gala and special screenings include Bee Movie, The Darjeeling Limited, Into the Wild, Lust, Caution, Sicko and Things We Lost in the Fire.

Beyond the galas, the festival features a wide selection of world cinema. The "New British Cinema" section showcases 12 films, including Nick Broomfield's Iraq war docu-drama Battle for Haditha, John Crowley's tale of redemption Boy A and Simon Welsford's thriller Jetsam. "French Revolutions" highlights 14 newer titles from that country, while American titles like Hannah Takes the Stairs, Grace is Gone and Honeydripper are featured in other sections. The festival continues through November 1. %Gallery-8786%