In a historic move, Italy officially abolishes film censorship, taking the power away from the state’s hand. By eliminating the legislation that allowed the government to ban and censor films, the country has brought an end to a century-long policy.
The Italian government introduced the legislation in 1913 which allowed it to censor or directly ban films. Over the decades, the state has banned hundreds of national as well as international, critically acclaimed films. And several makers had to cut out important scenes due to government censorship. Religion, morals, and politics were the primary reasons behind the censorship.
However, now that Italy has officially abolished film censorship, how will it affect the movie industry in the country? According to Luigi Lonigro, the chief of 01 Distribution, “ it’s an epochal change that the industry was strongly pushing for and will usher in self-regulation”.
According to the new command, Italian film distributors are responsible for their films. So, based on the existing age brackets of the audience, they will self-classify their movies. Additionally, a new commission of film industry figures, animal rights activists, and education experts will also review the movie’s classification.
Cinecensura, an Italian Culture Ministry-promoted online exhibition created a survey. It revealed that for a century, the Italian government has banned 247 national films and 451 international films including 130 American movies. Also, more than 10,000 films had to cut several scenes from movies.
Some of the most well-known movies to fall victim to censorship were Pier Paolo Pasolini’s 1975 film Salo or the 120 Days of Sodom. Another controversial film to get the cut was Bernardo Bertolucci’s 1972 film Last Tango in Paris.
Howbeit, the last significant case of film censorship in Italy was with Daniele Cipri and Franco Maresco’s 1998 film Toto Who Lived Twice. The film was a grotesque comedy that had references to religion, rape, zoophilia, and sodomy. It sparked outrage among the traditional Italian Catholics and was banned just a few days after its release.