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Istituto Nazionale LUCE

The Istituto Nazionale LUCE was originally a private association of documentary filmmakers. In 1924 it was appropriated by Mussolini, who gave it a new name (the acronym is for L’Unione Cinematografica Educativa, Union of Educational Cinema) and responsibility for producing and coordinating all non-fictional and educational cinema in Italy. In effect, through its highly professional but often politically biased newsreels and documentaries-the screening of which was made compulsory in all cinemas by law from 1927 onwards-LUCE became the strongest arm of the regime’s propaganda machine. After the war, given its association with Fascism, the Institute was provisionally liquidated in 1947, but was reestablished in 1949 with roughly the same aim of producing documentaries, newsreels and educational films though within a democratic context. The organization was restructured several times from the mid-1960s, and in 1982 it was merged with Italnoleggio Cinematografico, a state company for film distribution. As such, it continued to produce and distribute documentaries and films for educational purposes. In the 1990s, it was granted greater autonomy to collaborate on projects funded by private investments.