The Show

From the Data Bank to the Virtual Permanent Exhibition

The exhibition on the One Hundred Years of Film Censorship in Italy has an important antecedent.
At its origin was the film revision data bank, a special project promoted by the former Dipartimento dello Spettacolo/Department of Performing Arts and Cinema of the Ministry of Cultural Activities and Heritage, now MiBACT – Directorate-General for Film, implemented by the Cineteca del Comune di Bologna/Bologna Film Archive with the collaboration of ANICA (National Association of film, audio-visual, and multimedia industries).
In 1995, I proposed the project to the CEO of ANICA, Mr. Gino De Dominicis, who gave his greenlight. Our intent was to digitize the copious paper documentation about the films submitted to film revision that was held in the archives of the Ministry. From applications to minutes, from letters to the correspondence with prefectures and police headquarters, from deleted scenes to the number of authorizations accompanying each print, from dialogue lists to petitions and parliamentary questions: all of this can be found regarding any film authorized for public screening by Revision Committees.
Later on, Mr. Carmelo Rocca, Director-general of the Ministry – to whom I dedicate this virtual permanent exhibition – agreed enthusiastically to this plan, allowing me to reorganize the material, which I began to do all on my own. 1999 the special project “Italia Taglia” was launched under the guidance of Tatti Sanguineti. It is a data bank collecting all information on films submitted to revision from 1913 to 1999. Over the following thirteen years, generous and tenacious collaborators worked with me for data collection and input.
Extraordinary people helped this enterprise come true. Gian Luca Farinelli and Anna Fiaccarini of the Bologna Film Archive have always been present; Gino De Dominicis and Andrea Marcotulli of ANICA have constantly supported me since the first day of work.
Besides Carmelo Rocca, I was also given indispensable support and advice by the Directors-general of the Departments and the Ministry: Mrs. Rossana Rummo, who decided to open the archives to scholars, Mr. Gaetano Blandini, who has carefully followed the advancement of the work for several years, and Mr. Nicola Borrelli, who brought the project to completion.
In January 2012, along with Francesca Meschino, I proposed to Mr. Borrelli and Mr. Enrico Magrelli, the then Curator of the National Film Archive, to implement a virtual permanent exhibition in concomitance with the anniversary of the enforcement of the law on film censorship, promulgated in 1913, and the executory provision of May 31, 1914.
The project became a reality also thanks to the commitment of the new Curator, Mr. Emiliano Morreale.
Among those who contributed to all of this, I want to acknowledge in particular Mrs. Maria Giuseppina Troccoli, Mr. Gianpiero Tulelli, and Mr. Maurizio Grillini of MiBACT.

Rome, may 24th 2014
Pier Luigi Raffaelli

The virtual exhibition Forbidden Cinema is organized in five main sections:
ROOM 1: THEMES, A selection of filmic, iconographic, and archival documents according to the themes that used to be the most recurrent target of censorship.
ROOM 2: THE CENSORSHIP SYSTEM, an overview of the public and private parties involved in the recurring cycles of film censorship.
ROOM 3: THE WAYS OF CENSORSHIP, a few turning points in the history of film censorship, including different M.O. through which film censorship was performed.
THE COLLECTION: the virtual collection includes all exhibits. They are organized by typology of filmic or iconographic record.
FILM DIRECTORS: the exhibition closes on a section dedicated to two great film directors, including their complete filmographies, who suffered from infamous strikes of censorship.

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