Athens’s 12th Opening Nights international film festival, which officially kicked off with Pedro Almodovar’s «Volver» last night, has a pleasant surprise in store for the Athenian public. Acclaimed American actor Ben Gazzara will visit the capital tomorrow as a guest of the festival and the Association of Greek Directors and Film Producers. Gazzara, who started off his film career with an impressive debut in Otto Preminger’s 1959 «Anatomy of a Murder,» became one of the most well-known faces in 1960s American films. His great career was marked by his long-term collaboration with distinguished filmmaker John Cassavetes and he starred in some of the latter’s greatest films, such as «Husbands,» «The Killing of a Chinese Bookie» and «Opening Night» (which is where the Athens film festival got the inspiration for its title). Gazzara is still very active, though his acting career started off in the early 1950s, and has participated in films by world-renowned directors including the Coen brothers, Spike Lee and Lars von Trier. He will honor the Opening Nights Film Festival with his presence by presenting «The Shore,» a film by Greek-American director Dionysius Zervos, and in which Gazzara stars. The screening will take place at the Apollon cinema (19 Stadiou) at 7.30 p.m. on Friday night. In the film, a reckless mother leaves her 5-year-old daughter with her own mother, unaware of the fact that she will never see her daughter again. Using a decadent, seaside resort as his backdrop, the 30-year-old director has created an atmospheric drama, focusing on his characters and following them into the depths of the sea, where it all began. It should be noted that Gazzara also participated in the production which will close the festival, «Paris, je t’aime,» which bears the mark of 20 acclaimed filmmakers.