Here are some details about the Venice film festival,the world’s oldest,which has its 69th edition from Wednesday to Sept. 8 on the Lido seafront.
The first Esposizione d’Arte Cinematografica was in 1932. The first film to be shown was Rouben Mamoulian’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,screened in August of that year. The second festival,held in August 1934,included the first competition. Nineteen countries took part with more than 300 accredited journalists. The Coppa Mussolini was also introduced for best foreign film and best Italian film.
The festival was held three times during World War Two,from 1940 to 1942,but they are not counted in the total number of festivals. Participation was limited to countries in the Axis and their sympathisers. A short festival was held in 1946.
The 1947 festival was held at the Ducal Palace. It saw the return of the Soviet Union and the new popular democracies including Czechoslovakia,which won first prize for Sirena by Karel Stekly. During the 1950s,the festival experienced a period of international expansion,with the inclusion of films from Japan and India. Japanese cinema became well known in the West largely thanks to the Golden Lion awarded to Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon in 1951,and through the Silver Lions won by Ugetsu Monogatari (1953) and Sansho Dayu (1954) by Kenji Mizoguchi.
Taiwanese director Ang Lee’s sexually explicit spy thriller Lust,Caution was a surprise winner of the top award at the 2007 festival,just two years after he won with Brokeback Mountain. * Russian director Alexander Sokurov’s Faust,loosely based on Goethe’s classic German text,won the Golden Lion for best picture in 2011. Deanie Ip won best actress for her appearance in A Simple Life (Hong Kong) and Michael Fassbender best actor for his role in Shame (Britain).