The Forbidden Cinema website, dedicated to film censorship across European countries, is the first attempt to coordinate research on one of the most fascinating themes of film historiography. Following some recent, significant initiatives from Italy to France to Spain, the need to put in place some kind of coordination has become apparent.
Censorship was applied to both domestic and imported films. Therefore, there is a strongly felt necessity for a comparative analysis. Here you can discover what happened to Viridiana in Luxembourg and Ultimo tango a Parigi (Last Tango in Paris) in Britain as well as to Marcel Pagnol and Jean Renoir in Fascist Italy. Our survey covers censorship under the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Francoist regime, and the laws enforced in the Scandinavian countries as well as in the former Soviet bloc before and after the fall of the Berlin wall. The texts we have presented offer a transversal view of the cultural history of European countries, their institutions, and the relationships between cinema, politics, and evolution of the mores. Censorship is like a spyhole through which nations reveal themselves and their history.
The website structure is very simple: currently, it offers general historical information, along with a description of the principal sources. These can constitute a starting point for scholars and connoisseurs of every country that will soon be expanded with more links and materials. The website will be open to contributions from others and aims to create a base-level international bibliography on the subject.
The collection of materials was coordinated by the Cineteca Nazionale/National Film Archive of Rome. Most of European countries have enthusiastically endorsed this initiative, and ACE (Association of European Film Archives) has given its support. Forbidden Cinema is a little example of shared research that hopefully arouses the interest of film scholars, archivists, and simply curious people.