Journal Article

'It existed indeed… was all over the papers': memories of film censorship in 1950s Italy


Film censorship in post-war Italy has been widely researched by scholars from the perspective of governmental and religious interventions in the attempt to control the film industry and moralise its audiences. However, cinema audiences’ experiences of this practice have been virtually neglected. The Italian Cinema Audiences project – funded by the AHRC – has investigated how cinema figures in the memories of people’s daily lives throughout the 1950s, a time in which cinema-going was the most popular national pastime, representing at its peak 70% of leisure expenditure. The project unveiled how Italian audiences chose films, what genres and stars they preferred, and how region, location, gender, and class influenced their choices. One of the key questions explored in our study is how film spectators remember censorship. This article presents the findings of the analysis of video-interviews conducted across the country focussing on audiences’ memories and perceptions of film censorship in the period under scrutiny. Our analysis will investigate not only the actual recollections, but also how these individual narratives have been shaped by ‘inherited templates that individuals can use to interpret’ those experiences (Rigney, 2015: 67). Our oral history data will be presented against State and Catholic Church’s archival documents which will allow us to highlight the points of contacts and conflicts between official discourses and audience’s personal memories.

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Treveri Gennari, Daniela
Dibeltulo, Silvia

Oxford Brookes departments

Faculty of Technology, Design and Environment\School of Arts
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences\Department of History, Philosophy and Religion


Year of publication: 2017
Date of RADAR deposit: 2017-05-23

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License

Related resources

This RADAR resource is the Version of Record of 'It existed indeed… was all over the papers': memories of film censorship in 1950s Italy (Originally published in Participations, vol. 14, no. 1, p. 235-248 (May 2017)).


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