A classic, almost iconic image that hovers on a golden background… it is a female figure with a leonine hair. She carries on the palm of her hand a number that represents a story, that of the Venice International Film Festival.
It has indeed been ninety years since the International Exhibition of Cinematographic Art was born – it was August 1932 – in a room of the Hotel Excelsior, at Venice Lido, from a rib of the 18th Venice Biennale, strongly desired by the Biennale president of that time, Giuseppe Volpi Count of Misurata.
It was a historical turning point. For the first time, Cinema arose from being a popular show for the masses to a true Art, on par with those Arts that today are presented by The Venice Biennale to the world.
Films that will soon become classics will roll on the terrace of the Excelsior, attracting over 25,000 spectators for this occasion, starring directors and celebrities from Greta Garbo to Clark Gable, from John Barrymore to Joan Crawford, up to Vittorio De Sica.
“Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” by Rouben Mamoulian will light up the big screen for the first time. The grand debut will be followed by a magnificent gala in the Excelsior halls.
At the time there was no Competition, much less a Jury, therefore the winner was decreed by the public via a referendum that brought the Soviet director Nikolaj Ekk to success for “The path to life”.
The title for funniest film, “A nous la liberté”, will go to the great René Clair.
In addition, of course, to the shows presented in many places around the Lido, enthusiasts will be able to count on various initiatives that will commemorate the anniversary, including an exhibition set up in the Ca’Giustinian venue, with materials preserved at the Historical Archives since 1932. Here, among the curious and precious relics, one can find the letter with which Louis Lumière, the “father” of the cinematograph, accepted to be part of the Honorary Committee.