Censorship in Italian Cinema
University of Auckland
Auckland, New Zealand
Area of Study
Film Studies, Italian Culture, Research
Taught In English
Recommended U.S. Semester Credits3 - 4
Recommended U.S. Quarter Units4 - 6
Hours & Credits
Perhaps the most memorable scene from the famous Italian film, Cinema Paradiso, is a tear-jerking scene at the end of the film when the protagonist of the film, now a famous Italian director, discovers that his childhood mentor, a film projectionist, had saved him a box filled with all the film clips of kisses extracted from the films he had screened at the Cinema Paradiso. In Italy the first censorship laws on films date back to 1913 with the aim being that of prohibiting from screening and distribution those films that were deemed not acceptable for the public to view. In addition to total censorship, from the 1930s to the 1990s, a different mode of censorship prevailed, which consisted of cutting out parts of films deemed inappropriate and screening instead incomplete or indeed mutilated versions of the film. process that consisted in altering and indeed mutilating the integrity of the creative product. This research project looks at issues of censorship with a specific focus on a recent film by Irene Dionisio. Dionisio has retrieved ‘prohibited’ clips of major Italian films from the 1950s-1990s from Italian film archives, and reassembled them in her film Il mio unico crimine è vedere chiaro nella notte/My only crime is to see clearly at night. Her work in addition to being an act of recovery and a reimagining of film fragments, draws our attention to the impact of the censor’s cuts on the original films, addresses the issues of censorship in Italian cinema, and issues of censorship and creativity more broadly.
The researcher(s), depending on background and language skill will be completing research and assessment that will ask them to:
· Through the reading of existing articles, book chapters, and books provide a summary of the main issues and drivers of film censorship in Italy.
· Summarize critical/theoretical materials on the relationship between censorship and art.
· Analyze Dionisio’s film, and the re-assemblage of these cuts.
· Analyze one or more of these cuts in the context of the originally distributed film. What does the cut give back to the film? What are the processes of editing archival materials to arrive at the final cut?
The project is suited to students who are interested in issues of censorship and creativity, cinema studies, Italian cultural studies. Some understanding of Italian language or culture is desirable but not required.
Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.
Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.
Please note that some courses with locals have recommended prerequisite courses. It is the student's responsibility to consult any recommended prerequisites prior to enrolling in their course.