The untamed Cannes Film Festival remains cinema's best measure of, not success, but talent. Like most things in France, it was born out of protest. When Benito Mussolini set up the first film festival, Venice's Mostra, in 1932, to promote fascist and Nazi films, the birthplace of cinema rose to the challenge, pledging to create a film festival free from prejudices. The first was planned to run from September 1 to 20 1939, on the French Riviera, in Cannes. Louis Lumiere, le papa du cinema, agreed to be its president of honour. Elegant posters by a high society painter, Jean-Gabriel Domergue, publicised the event throughout the country. And the stars of the time agreed to grace the event with their presence in a spirit of "openness and world collaboration." Agnes Poirier reports.