ABC archive

The ABC cinema in central Brussels, which opened in 1972, was the last of the city’s old-school porn cinemas to show films exclusively in a 35mm format. These films, from a bygone era of cinema and pornography, alternated with live striptease on stage. The ABC was also the last vestige of a vast network of erotic cinema distribution in Belgium, launched in 1948 by the distributor/exhibitor George Scott. Following the shuttering of the ABC in 2013, Nova set out to preserve its archives, which include nearly 4,000 reels of film (more than 600 feature films and hundreds of trailers) and an abundance of promotional material, often showing traces of censorship.

These archives represent a little-known facet of cinema history, and special events are regularly organised at Nova in order to shine a light on the the city’s relationship to sexuality and censorship. Various collaborations and access to the archives have already resulted in a number of publications, the most recent being the booklet "Porn by Night" from the doctoral seminar of the ULB’s Centre for Research in Cinema and Performing Arts, and the book "Superpositions", a collection of censored pornographic publicity photos from the 70s and 80s, co-edited with Les Impressions Nouvelles. Last but not least, a major exhibition of material from the the ABC collection, "The ABC of Porn Cinema", has been mounted in collaboration with the MIMA museum and the participation of the Gogolplex collective, and can be seen at the MIMA until 9 January 2022!

Info (FR or NL only) > www.nova-cinema.org/nova/abc (+ language settings in the menu bar)