Film censorship  

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 This page Film censorship is part of the censorship portal.   Illustration:  Cover of the Nazi Germany 1937 Degenerate art exhibition. This exhibition is also a perfect illustration of the beneficial side-effects of censorship. Beneficial in the sense that any attempt at banning works of art, books or other cultural artifacts results in an aide to discerning culturati to seek out this forbidden fruit with zeal. Such has been the case with Video Nasties, the Index Librorum Prohibitorum (the Catholic Index) and the Degenerate Art expo depicted above.
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This page Film censorship is part of the censorship portal.
Illustration: Cover of the Nazi Germany 1937 Degenerate art exhibition. This exhibition is also a perfect illustration of the beneficial side-effects of censorship. Beneficial in the sense that any attempt at banning works of art, books or other cultural artifacts results in an aide to discerning culturati to seek out this forbidden fruit with zeal. Such has been the case with Video Nasties, the Index Librorum Prohibitorum (the Catholic Index) and the Degenerate Art expo depicted above.
Image:Perversion for Profit.jpg
A typical image from Perversion for Profit: a photograph taken from a lesbian pornography magazine and censored with colored rectangles

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
List of films condemned by the Legion of Decency, Video nasties, List of banned films

For nearly the entire history of film production, certain films have been either boycotted by political and religious groups or literally banned by a regime for political or moral reasons. Paradoxically, banning a movie often completely fails to achieve its intention of preventing a movie from being seen—the publicity given worldwide to banned films often results in it being given attention it might not otherwise receive.

With the advent of the Internet, the ability of groups or governments to ban a film is hindered. High-speed Internet access give more people access to digital copies of movies that might not be available for viewing in theaters.

Banning versus censoring

Many governments have commissions to censor and/or rate productions for film and television exhibition. From a government standpoint, the censoring of films is more effective than banning, because it limits the scope of potentially dangerous or subversive cinema without overtly limiting freedom of speech.

In the United States, there has never been national censorship. However, currently the motion picture industry maintains the MPAA Ratings, which are issued to individual films submitted to the MPAA as a means of identifying those with content not considered suitable for children and/or teenagers. The MPAA system is purely voluntary, for both movie makers and theaters. However, almost all theaters in the U.S. use the MPAA system, and many will refuse to show films which are unrated. From 1930 to 1964 film censorship boards did exist on state and/or local levels in some venues in the USA. The MPAA attempted to satisfy requirements of these disparate boards by creating films the Motion Picture Production Code in the late 1920s, another voluntary system designed and implemented by the MPAA. Films were either approved or not under the Code, and those that were generally had little or no problems passing muster with state or local censors.

Also, it is common for filmmakers to claim that their movie is banned when, in fact, the movies aren't banned but unable to find distributors. This is a common practice for both independent and foreign films. A recent example of this is the Toei Company's Battle Royale, a Japanese movie that has been unable to find distribution within the US because the Toei Company has demanded an unusually high distribution price with additional demands for its release. If a movie is not distributed because of economic reasons, it cannot truly be considered a banned movie.


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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Film censorship" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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