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Title: Italian cinema and censorship by religion
Author: Passannanti, Erminia
Awarding Body: Brunel University London
Current Institution: Brunel University
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis discusses clerical censorship against the film industry as a phenomenon encompassing questions of popular education and mass culture, power formation, and ideological struggles. It argues that clerical censorship should be understood not as the undertaking to simply make sins less attractive, in films, but as the Church's efforts to influence the state and police force, magistrates, or government censorship boards to prohibit or remove certain films’ offensive contents, which are believed to be ideologically contrary to the Church’s doctrine. The financial, political and legal sanctions called in force by Church censorship surely go beyond the idea of moral reprimand recommend by the Catholic teachings. They put in action what Gramsci called culturally influential ‘hegemony’. In particular, film boycott will be flagged out as that method which empowers the clergy (composed of high prelates, clergymen, and nuns) to influence their followers (flock of souls) to not even consider watching films, containing representations and ideas unapproved of by the Pope. In implementing its control techniques, by means of its reticular system, the church edits indexes, which set criteria for condemning and banning as ‘immoral’ and ‘harmful’, artistic products and ideological ideas, which threaten its theological standpoints. In this sense, the Catholic’s habit to set film ratings and spread public shaming may be said to contribute towards Church censorship as a wide-ranging practice. In consideration of the fact that the various forms of influence and control over the Catholic communities, exercised at local and national level by the clergy in parish churches, communities, schools, associations, and through the media, are acknowledged in this thesis as methods of clerical censorship, I also discuss the action and the militancy of self-appointed censors of Catholic background, who align themselves with the existing governmental censorship boards. In particular, this thesis conducts and examination of how filmmakers, producers, and distributors may at times witness their films being totally suppressed by state and church censorship, and at others, manage to bypass the trouble of compliance with censorship regulations by negotiating ploys to escape severe confrontation in the field of legal censorship. To reveal facts hidden behind the nation’s façade of liberalism and progressivism, this thesis addresses the conceptions behind constitutional/legal censorship and Church censorship. I demonstrate how the power of film censorship located in the nation's major centres of power, the judiciary and the religious, exercise double-edged forms of censorship, using their authority to influence society and individuals. A focus will be placed on recent reforms, which have aptly solved this impasse, and secured larger margins of freedom for the Italian film industry. Indeed, as my argument supports, cinema, as an art form, is also highly fertile in ideological and artistic dissidence against censorial forms of state and church, which attempts to influence and at times limit both the artists' expressive freedom and the audience's right to be entertained and informed.
Supervisor: Roberts, J. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Pasolini pier Paolo ; Power ; Italian fascism ; Law ; Italian legislation