The International Film Festival, commonly known as the Venice Film Festival, is the oldest cinema festival in the world. The event takes place annually at the end of August and beginning of September on the lagoon island of Lido di Venezia between the walls of the iconic Palazzo del Cinema.
Founded in Venice in 1929 by Count Giuseppe Volpi, later the President of the Venice Biennale, General Secretary Luciano De Feo and the famous sculptor Antonio Maraini, the first edition was inaugurated on the terrace of the Hotel Excelsior del Lido.
The cinema exhibition was born in fact within the Venice Biennale, presented to the general public as the International Film Festival with the aim of making the art of cinema recognized all over the world, comparing it to the most classical artistic forms, and spread it in a perspective of freedom of thought.
However, the period in which the festival was launched was not as good as the concept of freedom, as early as 1934 the Coppa Mussolini was announced as a prize for the event and the editions from 1940 to 1942 had to be held elsewhere – and subsequently they were not recognized by the organizers – due to the Second World War that raged throughout the Italian peninsula.
During more than 75 years, this film festival has become the stage for the greatest international actors and directors who are leading figures in the sector: from silent films to German or surrealist avant-garde, passing through Italian Neorealism, the New Queer Cinema and the New Hollywood.
At the European level, the other two film festivals of reference are the Cannes Festival founded in 1946 in France, in the enchanting setting of the French Riviera, as a political response to the independence of French cinema from Italian; the festival takes place during spring, in May and the final winner is reserved for the Golden Palm.
The second main festival was founded a few years later, precisely in 1951 in Berlin, and takes place every year during the month of February; the prize is the golden statue of the city: the brown bear.
This year the 76th edition of the Mostra del Cinema will be held in Lido di Venezia, from 28 August to 7 September, under the direction of Alberto Barbera. As usual, the greatest stars of international cinema are expected to compete for the first prize: the prestigious golden lion.