Ever since 1953 the amphitheatre has hosted the Pula Film Festival (late July/early Aug), which traditionally premieres the year’s crop of domestic feature films. Back in the days when the Yugoslav film industry produced several big-budget features a year, the Pula Film Festival was a major international glam-fest which attracted big-name stars – along with guest-of-honour President Tito, who revelled in the opportunity to be photographed next to actresses like Gina Lollobrigida, Elizabeth Taylor and Sophia Loren. Now that Croatia only produces a handful of (largely low-budget) films a year the festival has lost some of its former sheen, although the amphitheatre makes the perfect backdrop to what is still a great social occasion. The festival usually runs over two weeks, with an international programme of films (shown in the Kino Valli and open-air Kaštel cinema) preceding the Croatian programme in the amphitheatre itself.

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