The 1940s represent one of the most difficult moments for the festival itself. Nazi propaganda movie Heimkehr was presented in 1941 winning an award from the Italian Ministry of Popular Culture. With the advent of the conflict the situation degenerated to such a point that the editions of 1940, 1941 and 1942, subsequently are considered as if they did not happen because they were carried out in places far away from Lido.
The festival resumed full speed in 1946, after the war. For the first time, the 1946 edition was held in the month of September, in accordance to an agreement with the newly-born Cannes Film Festival, which had just held its first review in the spring of that year. With the return of normalcy, Venice once again became a great icon of the film world.
In 1947 the festival was held in the courtyard of the Doge's Palace, a most magnificent backdrop for hosting a record 90 thousand participants. The 1947 festival is widely considered one of the most successful editions in the history of the festival.
Development and closure
In 1963 the winds of change blow strongly during Luigi Chiarini’s directorship of the festival (1963–1968). During the years of his directorship, Chiarini aspired to renew the spirit and the structures of the festival, pushing for a total reorganization of the entire system. For six years the festival followed a consistent path, according to the rigid criteria put in place for the selection of works in competition, and took a firm stand against the political pressures and interference of more and more demanding movie studios, preferring the artistic quality of films to the growing commercialization of the film industry.
The social and political unrest of 1968 had strong repercussions on the Venice Bienniale. From 1969 to 1979 no prizes were awarded and the festival returned to the non-competitiveness of the first edition. In 1973, 1977 and 1978, the festival was not even held. The Golden Lion didn't make its return until 1980.
The long-awaited rebirth came in 1979, thanks to the new director Carlo Lizzani (1979–1983), who decided to restore the image and value the festival had lost over the last decade. The 1979 edition laid the foundation for the restoration of international prestige. In an attempt to create a more modern image of the festival, the neo-director created a committee of experts to assist in selecting the works and to increase the diversity of submissions to the festival.
To celebrate the 70th edition of the festival, in 2013 the new section "Venezia 70 – Future Reloaded" was created.
During the recent years, under the direction of
Alberto Barbera, the festival established itself as an Oscars launchpad, increasing the presence of American movies and hosting the world premieres of Academy Award-winning films such as Gravity (2013), Birdman (2014), Spotlight (2015), La La Land (2016) and The Shape of Water (2017).
In 2017 an new section for virtual-reality (VR) films was introduced.
In 2018 Roma by Alfonso Cuarón won the Golden Lion and became the first ever movie produced by Netflix to be awarded in a major film festival.