1st Edition

Moralizing Cinema Film, Catholicism, and Power

Edited By Daniel Biltereyst, Daniela Treveri Gennari Copyright 2014
    328 Pages 35 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    312 Pages 35 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This volume is part of the recent interest in the study of religion and popular media culture (cinema in particular), but it strongly differs from most of this work in this maturing discipline. Contrary to most other edited volumes and monographs on film and religion, Moralizing Cinema will not focus upon films (cf. the representation of biblical figures, religious themes in films, the fidelity question in movies), but rather look beyond the film text, content or aesthetics, by concentrating on the cinema-related actions, strategies and policies developed by the Catholic Church and Catholic organizations in order to influence cinema. Whereas the key role of Catholics in cinema has been well studied in the USA (cf. literature on the Legion of Decency and on the Catholic influenced Production Code Administration), the issue remains unexplored for other parts of the world. The book includes case studies on Argentina, Belgium, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxemburg, the Netherlands, and the USA.

    Catholics, cinema and power: An introduction Daniel Biltereyst and Daniela Treveri Gennari  Part 1: Policies  1. Resisting the lure of the modern world. Catholics, international politics, and the establishment of the International Catholic Office for Cinema (1918-1928) Guido Convents  2. The Roman Catholic Church, cinema and the ‘culture of dialogue’: Italian Catholics and the movies after the Second World War Dario Edoardo Viganò  3. The rise and fall of Catholic Hollywood, or from the Production Code to The Da Vinci Code Thomas Doherty  4. Catholicism and Mexican cinema. A secular state, a deeply conservative society and a powerful Catholic hierarchy Francisco Peredo Castro  Part 2: Leaders  5. Jean Bernard’s fight for 'good' cinema in Luxembourg Paul Lesch  6. An alternative way of moralizing cinema: Father Flipo’s remedy for the Catholic Church’s propaganda failure in France (1945-1962) Mélisande Leventopoulos  7. A triple alliance for a Catholic neorealism. Roberto Rossellini according to Felix Morlion, Giulio Andreotti and Gian Luigi Rondi Elena Dagrada  Part 3: Technology and Production  8. A Catholic voice in talking pictures: the International Eidophon Company (1930-1934) Karel Dibbetts  9. Pius XII as actor and subject: on the representation of the Pope in cinema during the 1940s and 1950s Federico Ruozzi  10. The failed project of a Catholic Neorealism: on Giulio Andreotti, Felix Morlion and Roberto Rossellini Tomaso Subini  Part 4:Censorship and control  11. Protectionism and Catholic film policy in twentieth-century Ireland Kevin Rockett  12. A case of entente cordiale between State and Church: Catholics and film control in Argentina (1954-1984) Maria Elena de las Carrera  13. The ‘Ideal Film’. On the transformation of the Italian Catholic film and media policy in the 1950s and the 1960s Mariagrazia Fanchi  Part 5: Exhibition and Cinema-going experiences  14. Separating the sheep from the goats: gendering space in the Cinema Auditorium in Rucphen (1929) Thunnis van Oort  15. "I think Catholics didn’t go to the cinema": Catholic film exhibition strategies and cinema-going experiences in Belgium, 1930s-1960s Daniel Biltereyst  16. Moralizing cinema while attracting audiences: Catholic film exhibition in post-war Rome Daniela Treveri Gennari


    Daniel Biltereyst is Full Professor in Film and Cultural Media Studies at Ghent University, Belgium, where he is Head of the Center for Cinema and Media Studies (CIMS). He was the editor of Explorations in New Cinema History (2011) and Cinema, Audiences and Modernity (Routledge, 2012, both with R. Maltby and Ph. Meers), as well as Silencing Cinema (2013, with R. Van de Winkel).

    Daniela Treveri Gennari is Reader in Film Studies at Oxford Brookes University, UK. Her work on Catholicism and cinema has been published in her monograph Post-War Italian Cinema: American Intervention, Vatican Interests (Routledge 2008) as well as in articles and book chapters. Her current work on audiences - funded by the AHRC - investigates memories of cinema-going and patterns of exhibition in 1950s Italy.

    "Finally, an investigation that demonstrates the close negotiation between film policies and filmmakers, power and art, ethics and aesthetics, as influenced by a variety of Catholic- inspired initiatives. This is a much-needed intervention into the study of film and culture alike, particularly essential in a day and age when the scrutiny of the power yielded by Catholic institutions is ever more pressing."Ernest Mathijs, University of British Columbia, Canada

    "This is a timely book providing well-researched case studies about the historical influence of religious organizations (in this case the Catholic Church) in the production, distribution, exhibition and consumption of films, from policies and leaders to censorship and audiences. A required text for cinema and media students and scholars interested in a comprehensive analysis of a relevant but under-researched topic. -- Jose-Carlos Lozano, Tecnológico de Monterrey, Mexico


    "The strength of Moralizing Cinema lies in the forays into new areas and, not least, in the rich detail of its empirical case studies." --Maaret Koskinen, Communications: The European Journal of Communication Research, 40(4)


    "Taken together, this anthology adds considerable depth and complexitiy to the historiography of cinema as a cultural form and inspires contintued study into the networks and linkages between different religious authorities and film institutions." --Ira Wagman, Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television