The highly anticipated new drama from Unni Straume, Music For Weddings And Funerals (Musikk For Bryllup Og Begravelser), will be the opening film of this year's Norwegian film festival in Haugesund (Aug 18-25).

Norwegian-born writer-director, Straume has lived in Italy since the early 1990s and is best known for her 1994 Un Certain Regard film Dreamplay, which also secured her the Norwegian Film Critics award. Music is her fourth feature.

Goran Bregovic, the Yugoslav-born musician who scored Emir Kusturica pictures including Time Of The Gypsies, Underground and Arizona Dream, has composed the music and makes his acting debut alongside veteran Swedish star Lena Endre.

In the drama Endre plays a novelist who, after a divorce and the death of her only child, leads a secluded life until she rents out her basement to Bregovic's Serbian exile and gypsy musician.

Norwegian crown-prince Haakon, who is the official protector of the festival, will open the event, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary and has made a tradition of opening with the premiere of a major Norwegian film.