Friday, 31 March 2023 to Sunday, 2 April 2023

Cold War on Screen: The Censorship of Foreign Films in Communist Romania

Fri31  Mar04:30pm(15 mins)
East Quad Lecture Theatre


Alina Popescu1
1 University of Bucharest, Romania


This paper looks at the way the censorship of foreign films functioned in Romania in the 1950s and 1960s - a less known aspect of film exhibition from that period. Although at that time censorship was the result of a combined effort from several people and institutions, the archival research reveals that consistent censorship was assured by a specific institution charged with the control of foreign films for a long period of time. Examining its reports helps us to understand the system of classification, of scenes filtering or distribution and casts light on the reasons why some films were accepted or rejected. It appears that a whole series of topics were encouraged or banned and considered to be suitable for the Romanian spectators or, on the contrary, harmful to the political or moral commitment of the socialist citizens. Ultimately, I argue, the centralised and attentive selection and scrutiny of foreign films for the Romanian screens was meant to shape the cinematographic and political culture of the spectators, and to defend the image of (national) communism.