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The Venice Film Festival

In 1932, right after the inauguration of the International Festival of Contemporary Music, for the occasion of the XVIII° Venice Biennale, another international category was introduced: "Esposizione d'Arte Cinematografica". This became the first ever international event of this type. 
The first exhibition was not a competitive event. A great number of films were presented, which became classics in the history of cinematography. The first film shown at the festival was Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Rouben Mamoulian. 
The competition was introduced for the second time in 1934, but there was no actual jury. The awards were given by the President of the Biennale, according to the opinions of the audience and experts. The "Coppa Mussolini" was introduced for the best foreign and Italian film, and the "Great Gold Medals of the National Fascist Association for Entertainment" for best actor and actress. The year after, the Festival became an annual event. The actors' award was renamed "Coppa Volpi".
In the years to follow, an international jury was nominated and the new Palazzo del Cinema was inaugurated.


During the years of World War Two, the Festival was held three times, but it was limited to the countries that were members or sympathizers of the Alliance. 
After the end of the war, there was one of the best festivals - the 1947 Festival - held in the courtyard of the Ducal Palace, which saw the return of the USSR and other countries to the Biennale. The International Grand Prix of Venice was also introduced. 
In 1949, the Festival returned permanently to the Palazzo del Cinema, which was not used during the war and the Golden Lion of St. Mark was introduced for the best film. It was used until 1968, when the climate of '68 meant the fact that the statue was from the fascist era, rendered it unacceptable. As such, until the 1980s the Lions were not awarded. During this time, some of the festivals were non-competitive, several other festivals of the similar nature were born and others were skipped. 
At the beginning of the '80s, the Festival started to regain its popularity and prestige. A new section was introduced, named Mezzogiorno-Mezzanotte. In 1980 the Golden Lion was re-introduced. In 1984 the SIC (International Critics' Week) was established and was held independently by the National Italian Film Critics Union. 
The year of '88 saw the introduction of new sections: Orizzonti, Notte and Eventi speciali. 
During the 1990s the Festival was visited by a large number of US Hollywood stars. 
In 2004, 2005 and 2006 the retrospective sections were dedicated respectively to the Secret History of Italian Cinema, Asian Cinema and Russian Cinema. The 2007 festival celebrated the 75th anniversary of the Venice Film Festival.


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