VENICE (AFP) - South Korean director Kim Ki-duk’s “Pieta” and US director Paul Thomas Anderson’s “The Master” are tipped as the critics’ favourites to win the coveted Golden Lion award on Saturday night.The two are among the 18 movies in competition at the world’s oldest film festival in Venice where stars, auteurs and industry honchos have been rubbing shoulders at the seaside for nearly two weeks of art house cinema.The selection is “the best around,” said festival director Alberto Barbera. Among the other notable entries this year have been the poignant first feature by US-born Israeli director Rama Burshtein about a confused young girl coming of age in a tradition-bound Orthodox Hasidic community in Tel Aviv.French director Olivier Assayas’s tribute to idealistic youngsters in the early 1970s in “Apres mai” (“Something in the Air”) has also been winning rave reviews, along with cult US director Terrence Malick’s elegiac “To the wonder”.A major underlying theme of the festival this year has been the crisis of spirituality - the heart of Austrian director Ulrich Seidl’s entry “Paradies: Glaube” (“Paradise: Faith”) which has also caused ripples at the fest.