*Featured Photo: Brigitte Bardot illuminating Venice with her presence in 1958: the photographers chase her and she immediately becomes the center of social life on the Lido. “BB”, at the peak of her career, came to the 19th Venice Film Festival as part of the cast of the film En cas de malheur (Love Is My Profession) by Claude Autant-Lara. (Photo credit courtesy of Asac – la Biennale di Venezia.)
ATTENDEES OF THE FIRST VENICE FILM FESTIVAL – PHOTO
1932: the public of the first Venice International Film Festival at the Chez Vous at the Hotel Excelsior, in the garden of the Fontane Luminose at the Lido di Venezia. The first film to be screened in the history of the Venice Film Festival, which appeared on the screen at 9:15 pm on August 6th 1932, was Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Rouben Mamoulian. Though it was not yet a competition, the Venice Film Festival presented important titles that would then become classics in the history of cinema such as It happened one night by Frank Capra, Grand Hotel by Edmund Goulding, The Champ by King Vidor, Frankenstein by James Whale, Zemlja (Earth) by Aleksandr Dovzenko, Gli uomini che mascalzoni… (What Scoundrels Men Are!) by Mario Camerini, A nous la liberté by René Clair. The major stars of the era appeared on the screen, from Greta Garbo to Clark Gable, from Norma Shearer to James Cagney, from John Barrymore to Joan Crawford, to the Italian superstar Vittorio De Sica.
DANCING AT NIGHT AT THE TABARIN AT THE EXCELSIOR – PHOTO
Dancing at night at the Tabarin at the Excelsior, in 1934: starting with the second edition, the Venice Film Festival becomes a competition. The programme also features Everybody’s Woman by Max Ophüls, It Happened One Night by Frank Capra and Little Women by George Cukor.
III Esposizione internazionale d’arte cinematografica (1935)
Count Volpi di Misurata, president of the Biennale, confers the awards: the Coppa del Duce for the two Best Films (the Golden Lion did not exist yet) go to Casta Diva and Anna Karenina, the Istituto Nazionale Luce wins the Coppa della Biennale for Best Italian Documentary for Riscatto, “inspired by one of the most glorious Fascist endeavours, the redemption of the Agro”, says the announcer.
ISA MIRANDA IN VENICE – PHOTO
Isa Miranda, just barely twenty-six, in Venice in 1935 as the star of Passaporto rosso by Guido Brignone: at her right is her husband Alfredo Guarini. In 1935 the Venice Film Festival becomes a yearly event and the prize for best actor and actress takes the name that it has maintained to this day: Coppa Volpi.
IV Mostra internazionale d’arte cinematografica (1936)
In the film clip from the Luce Archives, summer resort images of the Lido and the description of the awards that year: “The Coppa del Duce for Best Foreign Film was won by Der Kaiser of California (The Kaiser of California), produced by Trenker, and the Coppa del Duce for Best Italian Film was won by Squadrone bianco (The White Squadron), produced by Roma Film. The Coppa Volpi for Best Actor was awarded to Paul Muni for The Story of Louis Pasteur. The Istituto Luce with Il cammino degli Eroi won the Coppa del Partito for best political and social film and the award from the National Institute for Educational Cinema for best scientific film”.
PALAZZO DEL CINEMA – PHOTO
1937: the Venice Film Festival had grown in success and attendees, and left the terrace of the Excelsior Hotel heading to the new Palazzo del Cinema, designed in a modernist style by engineer Luigi Quagliata and built in a record-breaking time. It is still today, apart from the 1940 to 1948 editions, the main facility of the Festival.