prog: 1903

And... Cut!

Censorship and cinema

Censorship in cinema is a vast subject...
Immediately it makes us think of deleted scenes, banned movies and filmmakers sent to jail. Sex, violence, taboo subjects and protests come to mind. We might, however, be less prone to consider edits made for pure and simple economic reasons (a shorter film will sell better, a simpler storyline will reach a wider audience). We imagine a board of censors, little oases of authoritarianism established within a democracy, although often the citizens themselves or conservative lobbies and special interest groups are the ones who press for more regulations (thereby stirring the very public order they’re trying to protect). We rarely tell ourselves that these institutions make their mark by making decisions to control our broadcasting and distribution possibilities, which are increasingly concentrated in private hands. Invisible marks that won’t even begin to appear for another 10 years, to be evaluated only with distance. We think of material that, once edited, might be recovered. But it’s harder to imagine the scenes that never were. We’re proud of restoring films, excited to see uncut versions of movies as DVD extras. But we take less notice of the revisionism that manipulate these re-releases, the detours taken to conform to contemporary values, for instance by omitting racist movies in anthologies. We don’t realize that copyright holders take it upon themselves to block the very distribution of "their own" movies, afraid or reluctant to represent themselves in another light, hoping to hide behind collective forgetfulness. And then we tell ourselves that today a page has turned, that we can say and watch anything and everything we want. We entertain ourselves with the idea that certain films on television were forbidden a mere 40 years ago. But we willfully ignore that some films shot back then could no longer be made today because the moral landscape has evolved, they’d have no place amongst the political correctness of our times, and market logic allows for less and less manoeuvering space. Censorship today is more ephemeral and we often don’t even recognize it when it happens...

... and our program is only the tip of the iceberg!
Censorhship is protean and always rooted in a context, a place, and a time. So in order to broach the topic, we’ve decided to focus on a selection (to be followed by others on the topic) of a few moments of freedom related to specific places and times (Belgium and its reputation as a censorship-free country, pre-code Hollywood, 60s and 70s era Scandinavia) that allow us to imagine the limits before, after and elsewhere. Above all, we’re presenting movies that we like, particular cases in and of themselves, and will take advantage of the moment to evoke all other aspects of censorship. We’ll go even deeper into the subject with our invited guests and special screenings. After all, censorship is a fantastic marketing tool...

Film + discussion

Histoires d’A

Charles Belmont & Marielle Issartel, 1973, FR, 16mm > video, ov, 89

Shot in April and May, 1973, at the initiative of a Groupe d’Information Santé (GIS - Health Information Group) led by Charles Belmont and Marielle Issartel, "Histoires d’A" is a documentary entrenched in the debate surrounding abortion and contraception. The film recounts the conflicts surrouding these issues as well as the larger feminist struggles of the era. It’s one of the first films to show the abortion technique developed by Harvey Karman (known as the vaccuum or suction method), which led to it being outlawed in France. Not only the Karman method but any abortion or incitement to abort. Although the film was banned, it was screened in secret throughout France thanks to various activist groups before finally being authorized to screen in November 1974. The film managed to be seen by several thousands of people, making it an incredible tool for disseminating information.

The screening will be followed by a talk with Marielle Issartel who will address
the stories in "Histoires d’A".

In collaboration with the Human Rights League.

01.12 > 20:00
5€ / 3,5€

Video Nasties

Moral Panic, Censorship and Videotape

Jake West, 2010, GB, video, ov, 72

Censorship in Britain is considered to be amongst the most severe in the Western world. It’s responsible for kilometers of cuttings and a long list of unseen movies. English thrillseekers often had to find loopholes to satisfy their curiosity. But the advent of VCRs changed everything. The unregulated VHS market led to an explosion of videos to satiate hungry viewers. Meanwhile the general public remained stunned by the existence of films it quickly deemed infamous, indecent and sometimes even evil. It was pure panic! Moralists decried the obscenity of it all in the name of protecting young children. The tabloid press got involved and the slightest news-worthy stories were dubbed "video nasties". The British Board of Film Censors has served as an interface between the film industry, the government and the public ever since its creation in 1912. With the birth of the home video system, it took on the impossible mission of rating every video that hit the market! Chaotic police raids were ready to seize at the slightest whiff of subversive content. There was a list of banned titles, burned VHS tapes, condemned videos retailers and distributors and sometimes even prison sentences! This documentary looks back on a turbulent period to pay tribute to those "video nasties" and above all remind us that censorship is ultimatley the result of a minority wielding enough power to impose its narrow-mindedness on everybody.

+ Cut It Out

Adrian Brunel, 1925, GB, 16mm, silent, st int en, 19

This short, humoristic film blithely mocks censorship by staging a film shoot constantly interrupted by a zealous censor who waves his Bible at the slightest take: the banned list.

30.11 > 21:00 + 13.12 > 20:00
5€ / 3,5€

lang: en
id_rubrique: 1906
prog: 1903
pos: aval