Which famous international film festival had its inauguration delayed by World War II?

And the answer: Cannes Film Festival.    
1946 Festival de Cannes Poster. Photo credit: Leblanc.

At the resort city of Cannes on the French Riviera, the inaugural Cannes film festival took place on September 20th, 1946. World War II delayed the original inauguration of the festival, which had been scheduled for September 1939.

As the rising tensions of World War II simmered across Europe, propaganda began to infiltrate national pride. In the hours before the announcement of the Venice Film Festival winners of 1938, jury members at the Mostra were forced to change the award winner to a Nazi propaganda documentary in a move that ultimately served as the final straw for French diplomat and historian Philippe Erlanger. Erlanger had already dreamed up the plans for a free festival outside of political constraint and pressure, and the plans were finally set in motion with approval from the French Ministry of Education. The first Cannes Film Festival was set to open on September 1, 1939— the same day as the Venice Film Festival.

However, while the first festival-goers arrived to raucous parties in early August, war tensions reached a breaking point in nearby Germany. Ultimately, citizens were forced to flee as Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, and the Festival was postponed. The first official Cannes Film Festival did not take place until 1946.

Finally, in September 1946, despite a series of technical problems, the first festival kicked off a long golden era, making Cannes and its festival the place to be for film-lovers and filmmakers alike. Today, over 80,000 attendees, 4,000 journalists, and 89 countries are represented at the festival. Learn more about the Cannes Film Festival here.

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