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Italy abolishes film censorship: Movies won’t be censored on religious, moral grounds

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In a historic move, film censorship in Italy has officially been abolished. The country has abolished state censorship of films by scrapping legislation that has been in place since 1913, which allowed the government to censor and ban movies such as Pasolini’s Salò or the 120 Days of Sodom and Bernardo Bertolucci’s Last Tango in Paris.

More than 100-year-old censorship law was still practised in Italy where the government had the ultimate power to censor and ban movies.

“Film censorship has been abolished,” announced Culture Minister Dario Franceschini in a statement on late Monday.

“And the system of controls and interventions that still allow the state to intervene in the freedom of artists has been definitively ended.”

As a result, it will now no longer be possible to block the release of a new film or demand edits on moral or religious reasons.

Instead, filmmakers will classify their own movies based on the age of the audience.

In the age of live streaming, piracy and social media, People find one way or another to watch what they want to.

Censorship has become pretty pointless. Cut out a scene from a movie and before you realise- the uncut version surfaces online.

The more you assault a movie the more popular it becomes.

Italy seems to have realised this. It has ended the censorship of films on moral and religious grounds.

To date, the country has modified at least 10,000 films.130 Hollywood movies have been censored. So have- 274 Italian films and 321 international movies.

Bernardo Bertolucci’s Last Tango in Paris was not spared either.

 

The film was nominated for oscar, but when it came to Italian morality, it did not make the cut.

Italy is not the only country guilty of censoring movies. In 2012, China censored titanic-3d. Referring to Kate Winslet’s nude body.

A Chinese official said, “considering the vivid 3d effects, we fear that viewers may reach out their hands for a touch and thus interrupt other people’s viewing.’

China also pulled down James Cameron’s Avatar two weeks after it was premiered.

The plight of the Na’vi was too similar to the plight of Chinese locals who were fighting the govt to protect their property.

Did you know- in Myanmar films are censored if the actors are in tight pants?

The 2017 release ‘Beauty and the Beast’ was apparently too gay for the Malaysian audience.

So certain scenes from the animated hit were clipped.

In India, the shadow of colonial censorship laws still looms.50 years ago, the apex court of India said, “Continual exposure to films of a similar character” would significantly affect the attitude of an individual or a group’

While that may be true even today, Don’t social media and primetime news debates also affect an individual’s attitude?

Films are no longer the sole medium of entertainment. Neither are they our only window to the world. Yet almost every country wastes time vetting and censoring them. In this day and age, it’s best to let the viewers decide.

(With inputs from agencies)

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