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Venice Film Festival

The mother of all Film Festivals

Cage Mendes and Herzog at the Venice Film Festival

Founded in 1932 as a branch of the Biennale, the Mostra Internazionale d'Arte Cinematografica della Biennale di Venezia (as it's officially known) is the world's first and oldest film festival. It began on the terrace of the Hotel Excelsior on the Lido, with a screening of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and the following year saw its very first scandal, with the showing of Gustav Machatý's Ecstasy, with an 18-year old Hedy Lamarr's realistic depiction of an orgasm and brief scenes of nudity.

But all publicity is good. From the beginning, the Festival was a hit, attracting many of the big names of European and American cinema. Mussolini liked it so much he decided to take it over. He made it into a celebration of Fascist Italy, and built the Palazzo del Cinema on the Lungomare Marconi as a permanent home.

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Festivals and Events

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Text © Dana Facaros & Michael Pauls

Image by nicolas genin, Creative Commons License