In a symbolic gesture, the government of Italy is ending its censorship legislation that has been in place since 1914. Though the practice has largely ended, the laws were still set in place allowing the Italian government to censor a film or request cuts from a filmmaker based on moral reasons.
“Film censorship has been abolished,” said Culture Minister Dario Franceschini according to First Post. “And the system of controls and interventions that still allow the state to intervene in the freedom of artists has been definitively ended.”
Variety reports that the 1914 censorship laws prevented such films as Bernardo Bertolucci’s Last Tango In Paris in 1972 and Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Salò Or The 120 Days of Sodom in 1975 were banned from premiering in the country.
It’s an epochal change that the industry was strongly pushing for and will usher in self-regulation,” said the head of Italy’s distributors Luigi Lonigro.
Film director Pupi Avati, whose drama ‘Bordello’ was censored under the original laws, praised the move.
“It’s a form of self-regulation. We are mature enough,” he said. “It makes films more seductive, generating public interest, especially those with an erotic theme.”
The new rules will allow the filmmakers to classify their own movies based on the age of the audience children aged under six; over-14s (or aged 12+ if accompanied by parent); and over-18s (or 16+ accompanied by adult). A Film Classification Commission of 49 members will be led by a government-appointed president and will determine whether the age classification is sufficient for general audiences.
The Guardian reports that the last film to face censors was 1998’s ‘Toto Who Lived Twice,’ based on religious and moral objections.
A survey done by Cinecensura claims that over 10,000 films were affected by Italy’s film censorship practices. At least 274 Italian features, 130 American films, and 321 movies from other countries have been banned in Italy since 1944.
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